14 May 2014

Measles vs. myeloma. Measles wins.

Medical researchers have successfully treated a recalcitrant case of multiple myeloma by injecting the patient with a massive dose of the measles vaccine.
Stacy Erholtz was out of conventional treatment options for blood cancer last June when she underwent an experimental trial at the Mayo Clinic that injected her with enough measles vaccine to inoculate 10 million people...

The cancer, which had spread widely through her body, went into complete remission and was undetectable in Erholtz’s body after just one dose of the measles vaccine, which has an uncanny affinity for certain kinds of tumors.

Erholtz was one of just two subjects in the experiment and the only one to achieve complete remission. But the experiment provides the “proof of concept” that a single, massive dose of intravenous viral therapy can kill cancer by overwhelming its natural defenses...

The strain that Russell used was isolated in 1954 from the throat of an 11-year-old boy named David Edmonston and has been used to safely make all of the measles vaccines used in the West, he said. The virus treats multiple myeloma tumors as food and turns them into machines to make copies of itself.

Most people have been inoculated with the vaccine, rendering it vulnerable to their immune systems. But patients with multiple myeloma often have suppressed immune systems, which can allow the virus to do its work.
There is additional information in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
During natural infections, MV gains access to the bone marrow through infection of the reticuloendothelial system, thus making it an ideal agent to attack myeloma cells exactly where they hide. CD46, a cell surface antigen, is the receptor for MV and is highly overexpressed on the surface of myeloma cells, making them prime targets of infection...
Both patients in the report by Russell et al lacked detectable neutralizing antimeasles antibody at the beginning of their treatments, likely a critical factor for the virally mediated tumor responses they experienced...
Aside from MV-NIS, there are numerous other oncolytic viruses (OVs) currently under clinical development, including variants of herpes virus, poxvirus, picornavirus, rhabdovirus, reovirus, Newcastle Disease virus, parvovirus, and adenovirus. In rodent tumor models, each of these viruses has shown excellent systemic activity when infused intravenously, often resulting in long-lasting durable cures. So far, however, this intravenous antitumor activity has not translated into clinical use for any of these other OV agents. The general disconnect between mouse and human studies is multifaceted and likely reflects, in part, the limited number and scope of intravenous studies carried out with OVs to date...
Word for the day: "oncolytic viruses" - worth remembering.


  1. Its great to hear the results on myeloma but the future for MV-NIS could be used on many other cancers. ..


  2. I am very interested in this, having read papers on it in the last month or so. Specifically, I am curious as to whether an ancient disease normally contracted and recovered from as a child, but now knocked from the normal course of human development via vaccine, may actually have a commensal relationship with cancer. I know right now the hype is that measles is deadly, but in properly nourished populations, contracting it AFTER maternal antibodies and before adolescence, it is not particularly scary (although the child would be ill in the short term). Will be very very difficult to tease this information out of the medical world at this point, I expect.


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