In a breakthrough trial conducted at the MSK Cancer Center in New York City, 12 rectal cancer patients entered remission with a 100% success rate. During the trial, tumors of all the patients disappeared after receiving a drug named dostarlimab. This is an experimental drug, but the patients who received it no longer needed radiation or chemotherapy and experienced no side effects later in the research.
According to the study, all trial participants had a ‘mismatch repair-deficient rectal cancer. This condition emerges when the cell’s ability to prevent any mutations while copying a DNA, hence the name ‘mismatch repair’ (MMR), is crippled. According to the National Cancer Institute, if the MMR deficient cells have many mutations, it can lead to cancer. Notably, about 5-10% of all rectal cancer is associated with MMR deficiency in patients.
“I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” said Dr Diaz, author of the paper and Head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, while celebrating the success of the trial.