2022 has been an eventful year when it comes to medical research. Throughout the year, there were several highs and lows but each of them contributed significantly to the ultimate goal–finding the cure. While 2020 and 2021 may have stuck in the collective memory as two intense coronavirus pandemic years, 2022 has also been an eventful one.
From a new way of assessing potential dementia symptoms that may help to diagnose it earlier to the discovery of an insulin-mimicking molecule that can help in treating diabetes in the future, the year 2022 has been an interesting ride.
Financial Express.com presents the hits and misses of major clinical trials in 2022:
Curious Case of ‘Vanishing Cancer’
In June this year, a clinical trial that included a small group of patients suffering from rectal cancer witnessed that their cancer vanished after the experimental treatment. The 18 patients in the small clinical trial took Dostarlimab for around six months and after over 12 months the doctors found that their cancer has disappeared.
Dostarlimab is a drug with laboratory-produced molecules and it acts as substitute antibodies in the human body. It is reportedly indicated for womb cancer.
During the trial, all 18 rectal cancer patients were given the same drug and as a result of the treatment, cancer was completely obliterated in every patient. The cancer is undetectable by physical exam; endoscopy; positron emission tomography or PET scans or MRI scans.
Although the sample size of the trial is quite small, it definitely proves that Dostarlimab can be a potential cure for one of the most deadly common cancers, the scientists had claimed. The astonishing results of the clinical trial had shocked doctors and oncologiest around the globe.
A ‘Polypill’ Combination for Heart Attacks
This year also saw a big success story in the form of a “polypill” that contains a statin, aspirin, and an ACE inhibitor for people after experiencing a heart attack.
In July this year, new research revealed that “polypills” can prevent a combination of cardiovascular events and cardiovascular deaths among patients who have recently experienced a myocardial infarction (MI).
The polypill used in the study was a combination of a statin called simvastatin, a beta blocker called atenolol, a diuretic called hydrochlorothiazide and an ACE inhibitor called ramipril. Interestingly, all are sold as generics.
‘Fibrates Lack Potential’
Several studies pointed out that fibrates, medicines prescribed to help lower high triglyceride levels, are not much help in treating heart disease.
According to researchers, with the availability of statins and other effective drugs, fibrates are not as impactful in reducing cardiovascular risks as expected.
However, fibrates are useful to prevent hypertriglyceride-associated pancreatitis in patients with severe triglyceride elevations.
Alzheimer’s Disease Cure: So Close Yet So Far
The year 2022 was marked a tumultuous sequence of events for research and development in the arena of Alzheimer’s Disease. After the controversial approval of Biogen and Eisai’s Aducanumab in 2021, the companies reported positive clinical trial results for lecanemab, a second amyloid-eliminating monoclonal antibody for the disease in September this year.
In November this year, Swiss drugmaker Roche closed down the clinical trials of its experimental Alzheimer’s drug gantenerumab after it failed to slow the advance of the mind-robbing disease in a pair of large, late-stage studies.
The field of Alzheimer’s research is littered with failure and disappointment, including for several drugs in the same class, and previous efforts to prove gantenerumab’s worth. However, scientists are hopeful and pharma majors working on this disease are committed.
Reportedly, Roche is still testing a different formulation of gantenerumab called trontinemab, designed to ferry the drug across the blood-brain barrier in hopes of getting more of the treatment into the brain.