The small, 12 person study is the first ever study to see every single patient’s cancer successfully go into remission.
Many happy tears have been shed after a cancer treatment trial in the United States saw each patient complete the study with no cancer in their body.
12 patients suffering from rectal cancer were selected for the trial sponsored by the drug company GlaxoSmithKline, garnering results that left researchers flabbergasted.
Over a six month period, each patient took the same drug, designed to unmask cancer cells so they can be identified and destroyed by the immune system.
By the end of the trial, no traces of cancer could be detected in any of the patients after undergoing a physical exam, endoscopy, PET scans, and M.R.I. scan.
Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr, an author of the paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine believes this is the first time a cancer trial has ever successfully treated 100% of patients taking part in the study.
“I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” Dr. Diaz said.
The side effects from the drug were very minimal too, with the worst of it being muscle weakness, and difficulty swallowing and chewing – and only a small number of patients experienced these symptoms.
Obviously no side effects would be ideal, but when you consider that rectal cancer treatment can often cause bowel, urinary, and sexual dysfunction in around 20 per cent of patients, the results are extremely compelling.
“There were a lot of happy tears,” said oncologist Dr. Andrea Cercek, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who co-authored the paper explaining the results.
Researchers aren’t able to confirm whether the disease has been completely cured or whether it is only in remission, but either way, the study has been described as “small but compelling”.
As a result, a larger study is currently being organised, hoping for similar results.