The recent Mayo Clinic measles vaccine trial has yielded astonishing results in the fight against cancer and the study left researchers stunned after they were able to eradicate a Minnesota woman's incurable blood cancer by using a modified version of the measles vaccine. As detailed in a report from USA Today on Thursday, the method discovered the measles virus wiped out multiple myeloma (a blood cancer that affects bone marrow) cells.
Stacy Erholtz, a 49-year-old mom from Pequot Lakes, Minn., has been battling myeloma for years and she was running out of options because she had already been through multiple chemotherapy treatments as well as two stem cell transplants.
When Erholtz had exhausted treatment options for her cancer, she agreed to take part in a two-patient clinical trial. Mayo Clinic doctors injected her with 100 billion units of the measles virus, which is an amount sufficient enough to inoculate 10 million people. Now she is in complete remission and cancer can not be detected in her body.
"My mindset was I didn't have any other options available, so why wouldn't I do it? I had to have failed all conventional treatment to do that trial. That actually happened last March," Erholtz said. "It was the easiest treatment by far with very few side effects. I hope it's the future of treating cancer infusion."
The study was lead by Dr. Steven Russell, a Mayo Clinic hematologist, and he told Kare11 that the concept was previously tested in mice, but never in humans until now.
"It's a huge milestone in that regard," said Russell. "We have known for some time viruses act like a vaccine. If you inject a virus into a tumor you can provoke the immune system to destroy that cancer and other cancers. This is different, it puts the virus into bloodstream, it infects and destroys the cancer, debulks it, and then the immune system can come and mop up the residue."
For years, researchers have been testing the cancer killing virus, and previous trials with laboratory mice have performed well. Before September, reports Star-Tribune, the Mayo Clinic will launch a larger trial using the measles vaccine on cancer patients.