News / Health

Measles Virus Proves Deadly Against Cancer

Stacy Erholtz receives a test to confirm she's in remission from myeloma after receiving a novel virotherapy in this screenshot from a Mayo Clinic video.
Stacy Erholtz receives a test to confirm she's in remission from myeloma after receiving a novel virotherapy in this screenshot from a Mayo Clinic video.

Related Articles

Video Could Existing Drugs Be Used to Treat Deadly MERS Virus?

In lab studies, drugs against cancer, neurological disorders and other ailments show promise to help treat respiratory ailment

New Treatment Regenerates Muscle Lost in Traumatic Injury

Researchers say implanting material from a pig's bladder at the wound site enticed the patient's own stem cells to become muscle cells and regenerate tissue that had been lost
A new study has, for the first time, demonstrated that a specific kind of virotherapy can infect and kill cancer in humans, leaving healthy cells unharmed.
 
The study, conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, involved just two patients, both of whom received a “single intravenous dose of an engineered measles virus (MV-NIS) that is selectively toxic to myeloma plasma cells," researchers said.
 
Multiple myeloma affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow and causes skeletal or soft tissue tumors. It is rarely cured.
 
The therapy brought about a complete remission in one of the patients, while only improving the second patient.
 
“This is the first study to establish the feasibility of systemic oncolytic virotherapy for disseminated cancer,” said Dr. Stephen Russell, a Mayo Clinic hematologist, and first author of the paper and co-developer of the therapy in a statement. “These patients were not responsive to other therapies and had experienced several recurrences of their disease.”
 
In an interview with VOA, Russell called viruses “the last untapped bioresource as destructive bioagents against cancer.”
 
The two patients in the trial were given enough measles virus to vaccinate 100 million people. In a video about the treatment, Mayo doctors say the modified measles virus makes cancer cells join together and “essentially explode.”
 
The therapy also may boost the patient’s immune system, allowing it to “mop up” any remaining cancer, they said.
 
Using re-engineered viruses to fight cancer, also known as oncolytic virotherapy, is nothing new, dating back to the 1950s, according to the Mayo Clinic. But, according to researches, this study provides the “first well documented case of a patient with disseminated cancer having a complete remission at all disease sites after virus administration.”
 
Good results with this kind of therapy have been seen with rodents, but this is the first time success has been reported in a human being. However, remission was only achieved in one of the two patients.

Mixed results for patients
 
The other patient did not respond as well. Nonetheless, by using a sophisticated imaging technique, doctors were able to tell that the virus had targeted cancerous cells.
 
Russell said he and his colleagues found the difference in reaction between the two patients “puzzling,” but had some theories about why.
 
He said the patient who’d gone into remission had less myeloma in her body and that the second patient’s cancer was in a “very advanced state” with “massive tumors in the legs and abdomen.”
 
Another theory was that the second patient had more tumors in the muscles.
 
“If we’d treated her earlier, we’d have done better, Russell said, adding that they might also have seen better results at a higher dose.
 
There were negative side effects, he said, such as severe flu-like symptoms almost immediately upon dosing. Despite that, one patient called the side effects “trivial,” compared to other treatments they’d received, according to Russell.
 
William Phelps, Director of the Preclinical and Translational Cancer Research Program at the American Cancer Society, said the study is exciting because it shows efficacy with humans.
 
“Viruses are very good at disseminating throughout the body,” he said, adding that they’re also adept at hunting, detecting and infecting metastatic tumors.
 
Another advantage of using viruses is that they’re mutable, said Phelps.
 
“We can make a lot of changes to change what cells they infect,” he said. “We can change their payloads to specifically kill cancer.”
 
According to an editorial accompanying the paper, Dr. John C. Bell of the Centre for Innovative Cancer Research in Ottawa, Canada, described the findings as a “benchmark to strive for and improve upon.”
 
When asked if the study had implications for other types of cancer, Russell answered with an emphatic yes.
 
“There’s no real reason why it can’t work on other cancers,” said Bell, adding that cancer provides the “perfect substrate” for viruses because they’re metabolically active, fast growing and, “don’t know how to turn off.
 
“Once the virus gets in there, it can just move,” he said. “There are a lot of reasons they’re happier growing in cancer.”
 
More trials are planned.
 
“We want to take this virus and test it much more efficiently in a larger group to determine how often it works,” said Russell.
 
According to the Mayo Clinic, more of the MV-NIS therapy is being manufactured for a larger, phase 2 clinical trial later this year.
 
Phelps said his one concern about the study was that the two patients did not have any antibodies for measles, making them very rare because most people have been vaccinated against or had the measles.
 
One possible next step is “trying to engineer the virus so that it wouldn’t be neutralized by your antibodies," said Phelps. “Intuitively, you should be able to do that."
 
Russell believes that what this study has proved is valuable and can be built upon.
 
“We recently have begun to think about the idea of a single shot cure for cancer, and that’s our goal with this therapy,” he said.

The findings appear in the peer-reviewed journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Here's a video about the treatment:
 

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MOD from: china
May 18, 2014 8:21 AM
Hope it's useful and THX~!


by: Dr. Livkin from: UK
May 17, 2014 9:01 PM
However, there is POISON in the flu vaccine=MERCURY, a deadly neurotoxin that is NOT to be introduced into the human body unless of course, you want to invite cognitive disorders and cancer. FACTS AND RESEARCH WILL DICTATE THAT.


by: kanapathy pillai yogaraaj from: srilanka
May 17, 2014 5:05 AM
we support civilrights-Like


by: jom from: china
May 16, 2014 3:31 PM
Thank you for this hopeful article

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid