12 patients were successfully cured of colorectal cancer after undergoing six months of treatment with a revolutionary drug.
LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar
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Leer en español: Dostarlimab: el fármaco que cura el cáncer de colon
A study published on June 5 in the scientific journal New England Journal of Medicine surprised the world with an innovative drug, whose clinical trial was carried out on eighteen people suffering from colorectal cancer and which demonstrated 100% efficacy.
Although the Spanish Medicines Agency asked for caution in the face of the data published on the research, the truth is that it is an advance never seen before in the history of medicine. Likewise, this opens a door for future research that allows a definitive solution against cancer.
It is important to note that the drug dostarlimab, also known as Jemperli, is already authorized in some countries. However, it cannot be marketed yet.
How was the study realized?
During the clinical study, 18 patients were selected, of which only 12 have completed treatment with dostarlimab. These patients are people who had stage II and III rectal cancer. Among those diagnosed, 62% are women.
Now, Jemperli is a drug that has been used before to treat endometrial cancer in women. That is why the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline decided to sponsor research into rectal cancer with possible promising results.
However, the procedure was carried out in a period of six months. During that time, the population studied received a dose of the drug every three weeks. During the observation it was found that the function of the drug was to expose the tumor cells in the body, while the immune system detected and destroyed them. This is how twelve patients are completely cured without adverse effects.
Similarly, the results highlighted that there has not been a clinical trial with treatment that has eliminated a type of cancer in its entirety.
What is the incidence of colon cancer in Latin America?
According to the Pan American Health Organization, the incidence of colorectal cancer is high in Latin America. More than 240,000 cases are diagnosed annually in the region and nearly 112,000 deaths occur due to the disease, making it the fourth most common type of cancer.
On the other hand, the countries with the highest rate of colorectal cancer are Canada, Uruguay and Barbados. These figures set off alarms because strategies have not been created to effectively treat a pathology that can be detected in early stages. If the trend continues to grow, it is likely that in the next decade the rate will increase by 60%.
According to the WHO, it is essential that Latin America and the Caribbean begin to manage prevention programs to develop high-quality screening for colorectal cancer. It also points out that the population should take into account that from the age of 50, tests that include fecal occult blood tests, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy should be started to mitigate the evolution of the disease.
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Could this drug be applicable to the general population?
First, it must be said that the revolutionary discovery must be studied in depth due to the small sample that was used for the result of the report. Second, although the participants did not suffer any adverse effects, it should be investigated how it can affect other people, since the possible inflammation of the kidneys, liver, lungs, and intestines is specified in the dostarlimab technical data sheet.
Finally, to answer the question if it is possible to apply it to the general population suffering from colorectal cancer, this is still very far from being a reality. Starting because each dose of dostarlimab costs 11,000 dollars, which, if we multiply it by the eight doses that the treatment lasts in half a year, would give a total cost of 88,000. That means that the price to cure the disease would be excessively high for those people who do not have a high economic level.