Hematology

Welcome to your home for all things Mayo Clinic Hematology. At Mayo Clinic, hematologists work in collaboration with teams of experts from virtually every medical and surgical specialty for the care of adults and children with blood diseases, including various cancers of the blood and bone marrow.

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PUBLIC PAGE
Thu, May 25, 2017 10:30am

Measles Virus as a Cancer Fighter

By Mayo Clinic Hematology Staff, @mayoclinichematologystaff

What would your reaction be if your medical provider told you your only treatment option left was to be injected with a high dosage of the deadly measles virus?

Stacy Erholtz battled multiple myeloma for 10 years, undergoing multiple chemotherapies and two stem-cell transplants only to relapse each time. Just as she ran out of treatment options, her doctors at Mayo Clinic suggested a radical treatment, a single high dose of the measles virus.

"It's a very simple concept," Stephen Russell, M.D., Molecular Medicine says. "Viruses naturally come in to the body and destroy tissue."

The concept was in development for more than a decade, when finally, researchers say the final breakthrough came in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center's gene and virus therapy lab when they figured out how to make large concentrations of virtually the same strain of virus used for vaccines.

Gene and virus lab worker - measles virus therapy

A gene and virus therapy lab worker working with the measles virus for a multiple myeloma treatment.

Turning a dangerous virus in to a cancer fighter sounds frightening, but battling cancer can be far more scary.

"I received enough, apparently, to vaccinate 100 million people, which was alarming, but I was happy to hear that after the fact I was in remission," Erholtz says.

This breakthrough, according to some physicians, is changing the game.

"We recently have begun to think about the idea of a one shot cure for cancer," Dr. Russell says. "That is our goal with this therapy."

Original story courtesy of the Mayo Clinic News Network

Does it work on all kind of cancers? If somebody has had measles in childhood, does it make any difference? Have you tried this genious treatment in any other country like Sweden?

@saltis

Does it work on all kind of cancers? If somebody has had measles in childhood, does it make any difference? Have you tried this genious treatment in any other country like Sweden?

Jump to this post

Hello @saltis, here is a link to the Gene and Virus Therapy website for Mayo Clinic where you can do a bit more exploring while I also search for some updated research on the specific measles virus as a cancer fighter, https://mayocl.in/2z6ETqF.

@saltis, if you don't mind sharing, is there a particular cancer that interests you?

Hi Justin,
Thank you for your answer. I have breast cancer which has spread to my chest, too. Just wondering in case there is something which my oncology team has not yet tried. I am the lucky one who have survived cancer in 23 years and am now on Capecitabine tabletts daily. I was receiving 2500 mg/day but now am taking only 1000 because of side-effects.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
/roya

@saltis

Does it work on all kind of cancers? If somebody has had measles in childhood, does it make any difference? Have you tried this genious treatment in any other country like Sweden?

Jump to this post

I have a rare form of leukemia known asB-PLL. I would like more about it. Has anyone had any experience with it? The chemo being pumped into my vein 2 days a month was making me into a zombie;so I chose to stop about 3 months ago.I look and feel better. who knows how much less time I have subtracted from my life,but it was worth it so far. The Internet suggests a life expectancy of 3 yrs.; I have had it close to 6 yrs.BARBARA

@saltis

Does it work on all kind of cancers? If somebody has had measles in childhood, does it make any difference? Have you tried this genious treatment in any other country like Sweden?

Jump to this post

Welcome to Connect, @bflattenor.
It must be a challenge to find others who have B cell prolymphocytic leukemia (B-PLL), given that it is such a rare type. I'd like to invite you to start a new discussion in the Blood Cancers & Disorders group here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/blood-cancers-disorders/tab/discussions/ and get you connected with others living with leukemia.

This is really beyond a brilliant form of treatment. God I wish it was around when my secretary had multiple myleoma. It has been about 15 years, since she passed away from this disease. Back then the most advanced treatment available was Thalidomide. This drug put Geradine Ferraro's cancer in remission. Sadly it did not work for my secretary Dorie. Praying this new advancement will eventually stop all cancers in their place. Mayo Clinic is the BEST…..

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