There are clinical trials of the stimulant drug – then earlier this month there was an unprecedented news about a new experimental immunotherapy drug that has been 100% cured in patients being treated for colorectal cancer.
True, the study was small – only 14 people, but the doctor. Natalie Azar “Today”, “It’s 100% of patients. We never, ever talk about cancer treatment.”
The study, conducted at the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center in New York City, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
All participants had stage 2 or 3 rectal adenocarcinoma. This means that their cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, but the tumor has not metastasized.
In addition, all patients had a rare specific mutation in the cancer, known as MMrd, which is considered to be particularly sensitive to chemotherapy.
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The medicine given to them is called dostarlimab. This was done by GlaxoSmithKline, which helped fund the study. Dostarlimab was approved by the FDA in 2021 to treat endometrial cancer.
This type of immunotherapy is called “checkpoint inhibitor”, which means that the cancer cells destroy the thyroid gland, which prevents the body’s immune system from attacking T cells.
Oh, doctor. David Agus told CBS News: “This new treatment … will block the ‘shoot me’ signal to cancer cells.”
The patients in the study received a dose of $ 11,000 every three weeks (nine rounds) for six months.
All 14 patients had complete absence of rectal tumors, and MSK researchers said they could not be detected by physical examination, endoscopy, PET scans, or MRI scans.
After six months of testing, all 14 patients recovered from cancer. Some patients have not recovered from cancer in 25 months.
In addition, the main side effects of the drug — rash, itching, fatigue, and dizziness — were neither life-threatening nor uncontrollable, and the researchers found it to be more problematic than chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.
“Surgery and radiation have a lasting impact on fertility, sexual health, bowel and bladder function,” said oncologist and researcher Dr. Andrea Serchek in a MSK release. “The impact on quality of life is significant, especially in standardized ones. Treatment affects the potential for childbearing. This approach can have a major impact, as the incidence of rectal cancer increases in young people.”
Younger patients are more likely to have colon cancer
Serchek’s latest point about the rise in disease among young people is particularly important in a report released earlier this year by the University of Colorado.
A study of more than 100,000 people found that patients between the ages of 20 and 29 had the highest rate of newly diagnosed colorectal cancer and were more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage.
Experts do not know why young people suffer from colon cancer, but current theories suggest that environmental factors, as well as obesity, are on the rise in society and that some millennials are eating poorly.
Complicating matters further is the fact that young people are less likely to seek treatment for early warning signs of colorectal cancer, including changes in bowel and / or bowel habits, bleeding in the stool, rectal bleeding, abdominal discomfort, weakness or fatigue, and confusion. weight loss.
Colorectal cancer affects people of color in a disproportionate way. According to the American Cancer Society, people of color are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 40% more likely to die.
The U.S. Preventive Services Working Group has reduced the recommended age for screening from 50 to 45 years, based on data showing that colorectal cancer is more common in younger patients.
For those with a family history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis, it should be no later than 40 years of age and, in most cases, early.
Dr. Roger Charles, a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic, recommends the following formula for patients when to have a colonoscopy: acts during diagnosis. “
So, if your relative was diagnosed at the age of 45, you should have your first colonoscopy at the age of 35.
More research is needed
And let’s turn to the encouraging news on the immunotherapy front. Dr. Cercek and his MSK joint research oncologist. Louis Diaz acknowledges that larger clinical trials are needed to confirm these initial results, and they believe that the use of dosarlimab is a real breakthrough.
“Although longer follow-up is needed to assess response duration, this MMRd will change the practice for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer,” Diaz said.
This is not the only use for dostarlimab.
According to NBC News, researchers are studying it in the early stages of pancreatic cancer, as well as for the treatment of colorectal, breast, prostate, bladder and thyroid cancers – all of which test patients may have a specific mutation, such as rectal cancer.
STATISTICS AND FACTS
- Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States
- About 150,000 new colorectal cancers will be diagnosed this year.
- 60% of colorectal cancer deaths are preventable.
- 25% of people with colorectal cancer have a family history.
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer may include:
- Changes in intestinal habits (size, color, frequency, urgency)
- rectal bleeding
- Feeling full
- Cramps and / or abdominal pain
- weakness and fatigue
- Unexpected weight loss
Sources: Cancer.org and fightcolorrectalcancer.org