A 49-year-old woman injected with a heavy dose of measles vaccine (enough to vaccinate 100 million people) has been cancer free and in remission for six months, Prevention.com reports. She participated in a virotherapy, a virus-based treatment under the Mayo Clinic researchers. Stacy Erholtz had tried other possible methods to cure her bone marrow cancer, and this was her last option.
In the past, research proved that the engineered measles virus was capable of killing myeloma plasma cells without destroying normal tissue. After the procedure, the bone marrow cancer and myeloma protein in Stacy's and another patient's bodies were reduced.This medical breakthrough gives everyone high hopes that virotherapy can be an effcetive cure for certain types of cancers.
Stephen Russell, MD, PhD, a Mayo Clinic hematologist and co-developer of the treatment explains, “Viruses naturally destroy tissue." Angela Dispenzieri, MD, co-author of the study, further elaborates that injecting the measles virus in the bloodstream forces cancer cells to bunch up and explode, which also helps improve the patient's immune system. Although the second patient still has cancer, the researchers were proud to reveal that virotherapy was efficient in treating and targeting the sites of the patient's tumor growth. The two patients have never been exposed to the virus, so they have less antibodies for measles.
Russell aims to further study the treatment to provide a single shot cure for cancer.
(Photo courtesy of Daniel Paquet via Flickr Creative Commons)