In the United States, more than a dozen patients with colorectal cancer have seen the cancer disappear after experimental immunotherapy, and doctors say the results are surprising.
As part of a small clinical trial led by researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center in New York, patients found that their tumors were disappearing after being treated with an experimental drug called dosarlimab.
Details of the trial were announced published The New England Journal of Medicine on Sunday.
The newspaper described the results of 12 patients with colorectal cancer, all of whom disappeared after being treated with dosarlimab.
Participants received a dose of dostarlimab every three weeks for six months, with the idea that they would undergo standard postoperative treatment after chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and treatment.
However, the researchers found that in each case, the cancer was cleared only through experimental treatment.
The first in the treatment of cancer
The test was described as the first case in the treatment of cancer, said Dr. Louis Diaz Jr., one of the newspaper’s authors, Dr. Memorial Sloan Kettering. New York Times he did not know of any other study in which treatment completely eliminated cancer in every patient.
“I think this is the first time in the history of cancer,” he said.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells.
The test is aimed at patients with certain mutations in rectal cancer, the MSK said. message.
This type of rectal cancer, known as “repair deficiency” (MMRd), responds poorly to standard chemotherapy regimens. In the test, the researchers wanted to see if immunotherapy alone could fight rectal cancer, which has not spread to other tissues.
The study found that at least 14 patients had “and counted” tumors gone, and none of them had any serious side effects, he added.
There was no need for standard treatment of radiation, surgery or chemotherapy, and none of the cancer patients returned to cancer within two years, the report said.
“It’s gratifying to receive tears and happy emails from patients in this study who understand that when they finish treatment, ‘Oh my God, I will retain all the normal functions of my body for fear of losing radiation or surgery,'” said Sloan Kettering’s memorial. Dr. Andrea Serchek, presided over the trial.
How does this immunotherapy work?
The inspiration for the study was taken from a previous test led by Dr. Diaz, who found that patients were taking a drug called pembrolizumab, the New York Times reported. In this trial, which involved patients with cancer who were resistant to standard treatment, the tumors in the participants stabilized, shrunk, and even disappeared.
In the current test, the researchers wanted to see what a similar drug called dostarlimab would look like before the cancer cells could spread.
According to the United States, this type of treatment focuses on specific types of cells in the immune system, as well as specific proteins called checkpoints made by some cancer cells. National Institute of Oncology. Strong control points that prevent the immune response sometimes prevent the immune cells from effectively killing the cancer cells.
Like pembrolizumab, dosarlimab is a “checkpoint inhibitor”: it “releases the brake” on the immune cell, according to the MSK, to recognize and attack cancer cells.
“When the brakes are removed from the immune cells, the MMRd cells look especially strange because they have a lot of mutations. Thus, the immune cells attack with more force,” said Dr. Cherchek.
More research is needed
The results could be an “early reflection of the progress of revolutionary treatment,” said Dr. Hannah Sanoff, an oncologist at the University of North Carolina’s Leinberger Complex Cancer Center, who did not participate in the trial. in an editorial accompanied by paper.
However, he added that while the results were “cause for great optimism,” such an approach “still cannot replace our current treatment.”
“It’s unclear whether the results of this small study, conducted at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will be generalized to a wider range of patients with rectal cancer,” he said.
“To provide more information on which patients would benefit from immunotherapy, subsequent trials should consider age-related heterogeneity, cohabitation conditions, and tumor size.”
Clinical trials continue to enroll patients and are growing, MSK researchers said. They are also examining patients with stomach (stomach), prostate and pancreatic cancer to see if the same method can beat other cancers.