A Minnesota woman involved in a Mayo Clinic trial is effectively cancer-free after receiving a massive dose of a measles vaccine, doctors said in a study published this week.
Stacy Erholtz, of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, was told that an incurable form of blood cancer had spread throughout her entire body and that there were no more conventional cancer treatments that would help her, the Star Tribune reported.
As part of the Mayo Clinic trial, doctors administered a massive dose of a measles vaccine — enough for 10 million people — in late June. The medicine killed off the cancer cells and Erholtz has been cancer free since, according to the Star Tribune. Physicians involved in the study said that a second test subject also had similar results.
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The trial results were published this week in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
"It's a landmark," Dr. Stephen Russell, a professor of molecular medicine who led the research at Mayo, told the Star Tribune. "We've known for a long time that we can give a virus intravenously and destroy metastatic cancer in mice. Nobody's shown that you can do that in people before."
Doctors said that the experiment gave researchers a "proof of concept" that a large, single dose of intravenous viral therapy can kill cancer by overwhelming its natural defenses.
Russell told KARE-TV that his team believes their research
could ultimately change all future cancer treatments into single-shot cures.
"It's like a call to action," Russell told the television station. "It's not just good for our virus. It's good for every virus everybody's developing as a cancer therapy. We know this can happen."
Erholtz, 49, told KARE-TV that she suffered from multiple myeloma for 10 years and now has been cancer free for the past six months.
"My mindset was I didn't have any other options available, so why wouldn't I do it? I had to have failed all conventional treatment to do that trial," she said. "That actually happened last March. It was the easiest treatment by far with very few side effects. I hope it's the future of treating cancer infusion."
The Mayo Clinic is reportedly planning two new clinical trials involving more patients with the hope of getting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve of viral treatments.
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