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Woman Declared Cancer-Free After Taking Dostarlimab: What Is the ‘Miracle’ Drug?

With a 100% success rate against a variant of rectal cancer, dostarlimab is being hailed as a “miracle drug.”

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42-year-old Carrie Downey, a Wales resident, was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer a year ago. After being given the drug dostarlimab for six months, the Swansea Bay University Health Board reported earlier this month that she is now cancer free.

All tests that Downey underwent showed that there was no “evidence” of cancer in her body after six months of taking the drug IV every three weeks. 

The medical fraternity has been hailing this as a “miracle.” Here’s all you need to know about the “cancer-killer drug.”

The Main Point: Dostarlimab is a drug that targets the cancer cells and strengthens the body’s immune system. It is used for treating colorectal cancer.

Since dostarlimab uses immunotherapy to target the cancer, the patients don’t need to undergo surgery – or even any form of chemo or radiation therapy. 

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‘Blown Away By Results’: Downey’s oncologist at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital, Dr Craig Barrington, was quoted by the public broadcaster BBC as saying,

“I've been blown away by the results. I accept the numbers are small so far and it's early phase data but to get 100% complete response in a drug which is well tolerated and works incredibly quickly is unheard of in oncological care. Patients report even after their first treatment their symptoms have disappeared. It's just remarkable."

Are There Any Limitations? The clinical trials for dostarlimab are still underway. However, the drug has shown significant results in multiple rectal cancer patients who were prescribed dostarlimab in the last one year. 

With a 100 percent success rate against a specific variant of rectal cancer, the medical fraternity has been hailing this as a “miracle drug.”

In cases where surgery or removing the tumour externally is not possible, this drug can be the preferred treatment option. 

So far, no major side effects of the drug have been reported. 

The Larger Context: A study published in March this year, titled Dostarlimab for Primary Advanced or Recurrent Endometrial Cancer, suggested that dostarlimab, along with carboplatin–paclitaxel, when prescribed to patients with endometrial cancer “significantly increased progression-free survival.”

With the drug also showing effective results for people with bowel cancers, immunotherapy might be considered as the first line of treatment for more and more cancer patients in the future.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Health   Cancer   UK 

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