A patient with multiple myeloma cancer was treated at the Mayo Clinic with an experimental trial that dosed her with a massive amount of measles vaccine, and is now in complete remission. It’s very early, but the method will be getting more research.
The trial had an incredibly small sample size — just two patients. While one was cured, the other patient did not go into remission after the same treatment. That’s plenty of reason to pump the brakes before we all get too excited about a possible cure for cancer, but it’s promising news that’s worth exploring further. That’s exactly what Dr. Stephen Russell who led the research at the Mayo Clinic will do.
Russell said of the research, “It’s a landmark. We’ve known for a long time that we can give a virus intravenously and destroy metastatic cancer in mice. Nobody’s shown that you can do that in people before.”
Doctors have known for some time now that viruses can be used to treat cancer, and other research is being done in that field. The virus in the measles vaccine worked by binding to tumors and literally feeding off them to reproduce itself.
One question in the research of using viruses to fight cancer is the level of viruses required to overwhelm the tumors’ defenses. By using such a massive dose of the measles vaccine, the Mayo Clinic could help answer that question—and it seems the answer is “a whole bunch of viruses.”
The Mayo Clinic intends to launch a similar trial with a larger sample of patients later this year, and maybe then we can all start getting excited about the results.
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