Cure for cancer finally in sight

This article is more than 12 months old

A massive dose of the measles vaccine was given to a 50-year-old woman and it completely wiped out her cancer. 

The patient was diagnosed with a kind of bone marrow cancer and had a tumor on her forehead. The cancer had spread through her bone marrow.

She was given an intravenous dose of measles virus. A normal dose of measles vaccine contains 10,000 infectious units of the measles virus. The dose in this study was 100 billion infectious units.

The woman did experience some side effects early on, which included a severe headache. But the tumour on her forehead soon disappeared and her bone marrow cleared. 

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in the US who are treating her said she was in remission for 9 months before the tumour on her forehead started showing up again. She was then treated with local radiotherapy.

A report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune said the woman, now 50, continues to be in good health and hopes her doctor’s visit next month will show that she is still cancer-free.

Not always as effective
A second patient in the US medical study did not fare as well. She had large tumors in her legs and the therapy did not eradicate them.

However, using advanced imaging studies, doctors were able to track the path of the measles virus in her body and found it was indeed attacking the areas where tumours were growing.

Both patients were the first two studied at the highest possible dose of the therapy, which had not worked at lower doses.

The women also had limited exposure to measles in the past. Both their cancers had spread to the point where they had no other treatment options.

While this is a promising sign for the treatment and possible cure of cancer, there are many different types of cancer and also respond differently to various treatments. Not all patients respond the same way to similar treatments too. But, nonetheless, there is hope.


Sources: AFP, Vox