Measles Vaccine Cures Multiple Myeloma , Woman was cured of cancer due to measles vaccine A patient with multiple myeloma, an incurable malignancy of the blood, takes six months with no signs of the disease. Researchers in Minnesota (USA) managed to cure a woman with blood cancer after injecting a massive dose of a genetically modified strain of the measles virus.
During a trial last year, researchers at the clinic may in Rochester (Minnesota, USA) found that a genetically modified strain of type MV-NIS measles virus ended with cells of multiple myeloma, an incurable type of cancer in the blood that affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow.
One of the two patients in the study was Stacy Erholtz, 49-year-old, who was diagnosed a decade ago.
Their cancer sent completely following treatment with the MV-NIS virus modified and takes six months reappear.
“I think it is simply incredible. Who would have thought it? “, said Erholtz in the publication of this week in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.”
On an infected cell (green) (blue) measles virus. Photo: NIBSC/SPL.
“Apparently, injected me just enough to immunize 100 million people, which is alarming.” “Fortunately, no I heard about that until after the treatment”, added the patient.
According to the hematologist Stephen Russell, the lead author of the study, the researchers worked for a decade to implement “a very simple concept”, that “the virus come naturally in the body and destroy the tissues”.
In simple terms, the virus caused cancer cells is put together and disintegrate, as explained by Angela Dispenzieri, another of the authors of the study and an expert in multiple myeloma.
In addition, “there are indications that (the genetically modified virus) can stimulate immune system to better recognize cancer cells and help to combat them more effectively,” said Dispenzieri.
The study is part of research with virotherapy oncolitica, which involves the use of viruses to genetically modified tumor cells they infect, but adhere to normal tissues.
This is not a new concept for researchers, who for decades have known that certain viruses can attack the cancer. When a virus binds to a tumor, the latter serves as ‘host’ to replicate the viral genetic material.
In this way, the cancer cells burst and release the virus in the body. Safe antiviral vaccines, the same process can be used to transport radioactive molecules that destroy cancer cells in the body.
For the study with the measles virus, the researchers produced a strain of virus that is highly concentrated, and that at the same time do not cause serious effects on healthy tissues, reported the clinic may.
The second patient of the study did not respond as well to treatment, but if the researchers were able to see through high-tech images how viruses administered intravenously were specifically directed at areas with growth of tumors, said the study.
The researchers prepared a second phase of the clinical trial with more doses of virus, at the same time seeking to test whether their efficiency increases when combined with radiation therapy, with the idea of getting seen well from the food and drug administration of USA (FDA) in the coming years to authorize the use of the treatment.
“This is the first study that establishes the viability of systemic oncolitica for a disseminated cancer virotherapy,” stressed Russell.
“Unless we get to the third stage, will be cautiously optimistic”, said doctor Tanios Bekaii-Saab, who works in the treatment of pancreatic cancer with Reolysin, a variant of the virus causing the common cold.
WHAT IS VIROTHERAPY AND HOW CAN YOU END CANCER?
As the MD Anderson Cancer Center points out, immunotherapy (one of the new cancer treatments that stimulates the body’s natural defenses to fight the disease) is only effective in 15-30% of the cancer patients given to them. If we add to this therapeutic strategy the administration of oncolytic viruses inside the primary tumor and/or metastases, we could significantly increase the effectiveness of intravenous immunotherapy and reduce its adverse effects.
This administration of onocolytic viruses is what we know as Virotherapy. But what exactly does it consist of?
According to experts, it’s about trying to slow down or kill the carcinogenic tumor by injecting cancer directly into it (either primary or metastasis) oncolytic viruses (a type of virus that infects and breaks down cancer cells, tumors, without affecting healthy cells). The injected virus works by alerting our autoimmune system to the presence of the tumor, the disease. It’s about “waking up” our organism and letting it know that the disease is there, and that it has to attack.
Virotherapy throughout history
One of the first works related to virotherapy was the research of American surgeon William Coley who, in 1891, injected an cancer patient with the erysipela virus (a bacterial infection of the upper layer of the skin and lymphatic pathways) directly into the tumor. And this was repeated for several months. The patient (a 35-year-old Italian who only had a few weeks to live) managed to live 8 more years. It’s what’s known today as “Coley’s Toxins.” But the emergence of other therapies such as Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy caused Virotherapy to lose popularity.
In the 1940s and 1950s, viruses like mumps, hepatitis or West Nile (a type of virus common in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia, and which can cause a deadly nervous system disease) were injected into carcinogenic tumors with different results: some managed to lengthen their life expectancy, others managed to end the tumors forever and others, however, failed to deal with the virus that had been injected with them, which was the real cause of death ( and not cancer).
Since the 1980s, modern oncolytic virotherapy has broken through the cancer-fighting therapies again, although research remains very complicated. What experts do highlight is that cancer cells eventually lose their ability to protect against infection of the virus injected into the patient.
What is the best virus to attack cancer? That’s one of the keys: discovering which type of virus is most effective in each case. Another challenge is to prevent these oncolytic viruses from changing over time and eventually becoming “fugitives”, that is, end up attacking the patient’s healthy cells and endangering their life.
What are the advantages of viroterpia over immunotherapy?
As Dr. Enrique Grande, head of MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid’s Medical Oncology service, states, “as a more local and specific stimulation, the adverse effects and toxicities of immunotherapy are limited,” i.e. there would be fewer negative risks to the patient. In addition, this technique of selective inoculation on the various metastatic lesions present in the patient could also avoid tumor heterogeneity, currently the main pathway of resistance to immunotherapy and targeted therapies, notes MD Anderson Center in a recent article.
A lot of work, research and questions remains to be solved. But there is no doubt that Oncolytic Virotherapy is another possible therapy that lets us know that we are getting closer and closer to beating cancer.