SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – A clinical trial shows a potential breakthrough for treating some people with a certain type of rectal cancer. In the trial, every patient who received the experimental treatment saw their cancer go into remission within months.
“This was a very exciting development because up until now patients with this type of locally advanced rectal cancer would typically require surgery, therapy, radiation and chemotherapy,” said Dr. Lane R. Rosen, a medical oncologist with the Willis-Knighton Health System.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center conducted the study, with all 14 participants in a locally advanced stage of rectal cancer with mismatch repair deficiency.
“With mismatch repair patients, that means their normal DNA does not have the ability to fix the mistakes that it makes on a normal basis. With mismatch repair typically get cancer sooner than someone who has the ability to repair those mistakes,” said Dr. Mindie Kavanaugh, a medical oncologist with LSU Health System.
The participants were treated with an immunotherapy drug called dostarlimab every three weeks for six months. After completion and follow-ups, researchers said all the patients showed no sign of cancer.
“Dostarlimad is a monoclonal antibody that targets a receptor called a PD1, it binds to the PD1 and blocks it. The dostarlimad kind of allows the body to say, ‘This shouldn’t be here.’ That this isn’t a normal cell and then at that point try to destroy it and get rid of it,” said Kavanaugh.
Doctors say more research will need to be done to determine the drug’s effectiveness.
“It remains to be seen, will these patients have to stay on this medication permanently? Will there be late failures? But it is exciting because it means that for patients that have this specific genetic abnormality either mismatch repair deficiency or who have lynch syndrome or similar type diseases. We may be able to expand this to other disease sites.”
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