Dostarlimab : The miracle drug against cancer
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. It is the leading cause of death worldwide causing around 10 million deaths in 2020 or nearly 1 in 6 death. The most common types of cancer are breast cancer(2.2 million cases per year), lung cancer(2.1 million cases per year), colon and rectal cancer(1.93 million cases per year) and prostate cancer(1.4 million cases per year).
Recently a clinical trial was conducted on patients who suffered from rectal cancer. In all these patients rectal cancer was locally advanced. In the experiment, patients had undergone immunotherapy using a drug called Dostarlimab for 6 months in what is called as a limited clinical trial which was done by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre. All the patients had their tumors shrunk by the end of this trial. This showed that Dostarlimab has the potential for a possible cancer cure for one of the most lethal tumors.
Dostarlimab is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies which are specifically designed to fight a specific illness. Dostarlimab is designed to block a particular type of protein involved in cancer cells called PD-1.
How was it Cured?
The trial showed that immunotherapy alone without any chemotherapy radiation, or surgery that have been staples cancer treatment could completely cure the patients with a particular kind of rectal cancer called mismatch repair deficient cancer. Mismatch repair deficiency cancer is the most common among colorectal, gastrointestinal , and endometrial cancers. Patients suffering from this condition lack the genes to correct typos in DNA that occur naturally while cells make copies. This immunotherapy belongs to a category called PD-1 blockades that are now recommended for treatment of such cancers rather than chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
PD-1 is a type of protein that regulates certain functions of the immune system which incudes suppressing T- cell activity( T -cells helps to stop uncontrolled growth of cells in the body). The PD-1 blockage therapy helps to release T-cells from this suppression.
How much does it cost?
An immunotherapy using Dostarlimab can cost around Rs 4 lakhs per month, with patients needing the treatment for 6 months to a year. Cost of this treatment can be a huge hurdle as people may end up using their life savings for the treatment.
Read more: Waves
Check your knowledge
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer that kills men across the globe
Oral cancer in Men
Breast cancer in Women
On August 17,2021. FDA approved Dostarlimab-gxly for adult patients with mismatch pair deficient recurrent or advanaced solid tumors
It longs to the clan of medicines called Monoclonal Antibodies
Yes, it is immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies such as dostarlimab may help body’s immune system and interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread