Dostarlimab (Jemperli) results give hope of a cure for cancer based on early results across 14 patients. For the patients, it means that they avoid surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. It applies to specific types of rectal cancer. This is having a seismic impact in the world of oncology.
That could have far-reaching implications, particularly for young adults.
“Surgery and radiation have permanent effects on fertility, sexual health, bowel and bladder function and the implications for quality of life are substantial, especially in those where standard treatment would impact childbearing potential,” another lead researcher, Dr Andrea Cercek, said. “As the incidence of rectal cancer is rising in young adults, this approach can have a major impact.”
Dostarlimab has been developed by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline at a cost of $11,000 for each dose, . The drug was given to the patients every three to six months.
The findings fall within one of the most promising areas of frontier experimental cancer research that combines personalised medicine with immunotherapy. The goal is to train the immune system to destroy cancer cells by helping it detect specific mutations in the genetic makeup of an individual patient’s own tumour.
The clinical trial led by The Sloan Kettering institute designed it to apply to a specific sub-group of renal cancer patients. All 14 patients had a rare mutation in their tumour cells known as “mismatch repair deficiency”, meaning that the cells’ DNA repair system is not working.
As a result, the cancer cells produce proteins with higher levels of genetic errors in them which makes them more visible to the body’s immune system once the shield has been removed.
The scientists involved in the dostarlimab trial are careful not to present the findings as a cure. The patients will be kept under close medical assessment to see how long they remain cancer-free.
However, the level optimism toward a cure has hit a new level of euphoria in the medical community.
What Was The Criteria For The Dostarlimab Trial
We dived deeper and looked into the Clinical Trials US government to review who was eligble for this trial:
- Participant has histologically or cytologically proven advanced or metastatic NSCLC and only squamous or non-squamous cell carcinoma.
- Participant has received no more than 2 prior lines of therapy for advanced or metastatic disease, which must only include a platinum based (e.g., cisplatin, carboplatin) doublet chemotherapy regimen and an anti-PD-1 or an anti-PD-(L)1 antibody.
- Participant has measurable disease.
- Participant has documented radiographic disease progression on prior platinum based chemotherapy and on or after prior anti-PD-(L)1 therapy.
- Participant agrees to submit an archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor tissue specimen that was collected on or after diagnosis of metastatic disease. If archival tissue is not available, the participant must undergo biopsy prior to study entry.
- Participant has an ECOG performance status score of 0 or 1.
- Participant has a life expectancy of at least 3 months.
- Participant has adequate Baseline organ function.
- Participant has recovered from any prior treatment related toxicities.
- Participant agrees to use contraception.
An MRI scan can identify and monitor the growth of most cancers.