A new drug cures cancer for 100% of patients on trial

The test used immunotherapy, which made the cancer completely disappear (Image: Getty Images)

Doctors successfully cured direct cancer in patients thanks to an experimental drug test.

Oncologists at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York City found that the latest patient tests showed no signs of cancer.

La treatment uses immunotherapy that utilizes the body’s own immune system as an ally against cancer.

Sascha Roth, the first patient in the clinical trial involving immunotherapy to undergo six months of therapy.

For the first time, the MSK clinical trial investigated whether only immunotherapy could overcoming direct cancer this did not spread to other tissues, in a subset of patients whose tumor contained a specific genetic mutation.

As the first patient to enroll in the test, the research team was concerned that Roth’s experience could prove to be extraordinary but the same remarkable result was repeated in all 14 people in the test.

Sascha Roth, the first patient in the clinical trial involving immunotherapy to undergo six months of therapy (Image: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

In any case, the direct cancer disappeared after immunotherapy – without the need for standard radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy treatments – and cancer did not return in any of the patients who had been cancer-free for up to two years.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to receive these happy tears and happy emails from the patients in this study who finish treatment and realize,‘ Oh my God, I can keep all my normal body functions that I feared I might lose due to radiation or surgery, “said Dr. Andrea Cercek, a medical oncologist working on the test.

The patients in the study had tumors with a specific genetic makeup known as mismatched repair deficiency (MMRd) or microsatellite instability (MSI).

There are 45,000 Americans diagnosed with direct cancer each year. Between 5% and 10% of all rectal cancer patients are thought to have MMRd tumors.

“Immunotherapy has been shown to be successful in treating a subset of patients with colon and direct cancer that has metastasized, which means spread to other tissues,” said Dr. Luis Diaz, Jr., a co-researcher on the test.

The clinical trial also focused on avoiding the toxicity often associated with therapy for direct cancer because the standard therapy for direct cancer with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy may be particularly difficult for people due to the location of the tumor.

“They can suffer from bowel and bladder dysfunction, incontinence, infertility, sexual dysfunction and more,” Dr. Diaz said.

Doctors successfully cure direct cancer in patients thanks to experimental drug testing (Image: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

To avoid these toxicities, many approaches to direct cancer try to shrink the tumor as much as possible with chemotherapy and radiation to facilitate surgery.

Dr. Diaz says this decision by Dr. Cercek was a “world-class moment” that promised to change patients’ lives if it worked.

All patients in the trial should have stage 2 or 3 rectal tumors that are MMRd making their cancer particularly sensitive to immunotherapy. Patients received the drug intravenously every three weeks for six months.

Their tumors were closely tracked, Dr Diaz explains, “using imaging, imaging such as endoscopy, as well as other methods”.

“Immunotherapy has shrunk the tumors much faster than I expected,” Dr. Cercek said.

Patients received drugs intravenously every three weeks for six months (Image: Getty Images)

“My research nurse Jenna Sinopoli would say to me, ‘The patient has only received one treatment and they are no longer bleeding and their terrible pain is gone.’

‘One young man and his family were just sitting in stunned silence when I told them his cancer was gone,’ said Dr. Cercek. ‘Then they thanked us again and again.

The fascinating part of the test is that each of the patients only needed immunotherapy without the need for radiation or surgery.

– They maintained normal bowel function, bladder function, sexual function, fertility. Women have their uterus and ovaries. It’s remarkable, ‘said Dr. Cercek.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. Most people diagnosed with it are over 60 years old. However, there has been a critical increase in the number of people under 50 who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, especially direct cancer.

Dr Cercek says: “We are seeing more and more young people with direct cancer, including 20-year-olds in our trial. Immunotherapy could be an important new choice for them. ‘

The test result was published in The New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the nation’s largest meeting of clinical oncologists in June 2022.

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