May 16, 2014 1:25 pm

Massive dose of measles vaccine cured U.S. woman’s cancer, study says

WATCH: DOCTORS SAY A WOMAN WITH AN INCURABLE BLOOD CANCER IS IN REMISSION — BECAUSE OF A MASSIVE DOSE OF MEASLES.

Did a massive dose of the measles vaccine wipe out a terminally ill woman’s cancer?

Doctors say a Minnesota woman who was battling an incurable blood cancer is in remission – and thanks to a hefty dose of the measles virus.

They’re calling it a remarkable, impossible feat.

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“We have known for some time that viruses act like a vaccine. If you inject a virus into a tumour, you can provoke the immune system to destroy that cancer and other cancers,” according to Dr. Stephen Russell of the Mayo Clinic.

“It’s a landmark,” Russell told the local Minneapolis Star Tribune.

His patient, 50-year-old Stacy Erholtz had been fighting multiple myeloma – a cancer in her bone marrow –  for about a decade. This Mayo Clinic trial she signed up for in June was her last ditch effort.

She and another myeloma patient were selected for the study because they are immune-compromised and can’t fight off the measles before it has time to attack cancer. Erholtz was the only patient to head into remission.

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The measles zero in on the cancer tumours and make them explode. It’s worked in rats, but Erholtz is the first patient to receive such a large dose of measles – literally 100 billion units, enough to vaccinate 10 million people, according to U.S. reports.

The clinic has already moved into more clinical trials with patients.

Oncolytic virology – putting viruses to use to fight cancer – is even being studied in Canada. Take the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, for example.

READ MORE: Could this new therapy kill cancer? Canadian doc thinks so

There, doctors are working on using viruses to infect and kill cancer cells. It’s a tricky therapy though. For starters, it can only be used once – after that your body’s immune system recognizes the viruses and destroys them before going after the tumours.

Russell’s findings were published Wednesday in the  journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

© Shaw Media, 2014

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