One of the patients who took part in a ground-breaking new drug trial says they cried when they found out their cancer had disappeared.
Earlier this week, a team of scientists said they believed they had made a major breakthrough in the fight against colon cancer.
The study found that the drug dostarlimab, which substitutes antibodies in the human body for laboratory-produced molecules, was successful in defeating the disease.
Over the course of the trial at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, patients took the drug every three weeks for six months.
They then underwent a number of tests and physical exams to check their progress, and within a year of the study taking place, every single one of the 18 patients who took part was in remission.
But not only that, the trial also found that none of the patients suffered any serious complications as a result of the trial either.
Despite it being a small sample, it's common for about one in five patients to exhibit a bad reaction to drugs such as this.
One of those who took part was Imtiaz, who said he simply broke down when he was given the incredible news.
Imtiaz said: "I told my family. They didn’t believe me.
"The first thing I did, I called my mom and we both cried. It was life changing."
Fellow patient Avery also spoke about the moment they were told they were cancer free.
He said: "The world just stopped for a second and I couldn’t believe it."
Dr. Luis Diaz, who co-led the research, told The New York Times: "I have never seen anything like this before and I think this is the first time we’ve seen anything like this in cancer treatment."
Very proud of our study published in @NEJM. 100% clinical complete response with dostarlimab alone in mismatch repair-deficient locally advanced #RectalCancer. No radiation or surgery! @ASCO #ASCO22 @MSKCancerCenter https://t.co/sZypoHBtj7— Andrea Cercek (@AndreaCercek) June 5, 2022
Dr. Andrea Cercek is an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a co-author of the paper.
She recently talked about how dostarlimab works, explaining that it 'unlocks the body's natural immune system to fight cancer'.
She said that this particular treatment works on 'specific cancer cells' that lack a gene which enables them to repair their DNA, ultimately leading to mutations.
"When we give immunotherapy like dostarlimab it really just revs up the immune system so that it sees the cancer and gets rid of it," she explained.
"But what's so remarkable here is that it completely eliminated the cancer, the tumours just vanished."
Featured Image Credit: NBC
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