Willing to try anything to beat blood cancer, 50-year-old Stacy Erholtz decided to participate in a Mayo Clinic experimental trial that involved injecting enough measles vaccine to inoculate 10 million people. Now, thanks to that "measles blitzkrieg," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, almost a year later, Erholtz is in remission.
Erholtz's tumors were mostly in her bone marrow, while the other study participant had tumors in the leg muscles. While Erholtz was the only one who went into remission, the experiment provides the "proof of concept" that a large amount of intravenous viral therapy can wipe out cancer by overpowering its natural defenses. "It's a landmark," lead researcher Dr. Stephen Russell, a professor of molecular medicine, told the Star Tribune. "Nobody's shown that you can do that in people before."
Viruses can be used to destroy cancer because, as the Star Tribune explains, "they bind to tumors and use them as hosts to replicate their own genetic material." The Mayo Clinic will launch a new, larger study within a few months to see if they can replicate the success.
The study was published Wednesday in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Read more about this fascinating study at the Star Tribune.