Dr. Stephen Russell, the Richard O. Jacobson Professor of Molecular Medicine and a Consultant in Hematology from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, in an article ...
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For many years people have been working on the theory that viruses introduced to the body, delivered as a systemic approach intravenously, can be used to destroy cancer throughout the body. The correct terminology for this procedure is “systemic oncolytic virotherapy”.
Previously this approach has proven to be successful in mice, and recently it was tried for the first time on humans in a clinical study at the Mayo Clinic. The first person who elected to enroll in the study was a 49 year-old woman with multiple myeloma (cancer that starts in the plasma cells in bone marrow) who already had two stem cell transplants which had not eradicated her cancer.
She was administered the systemic oncolytic virotherapy, being a single dosage of modified measles virus, and no other therapy. The results were astonishing. The tumor on her forehead regressed completely, other visible lesions on her PET CT-scan disappeared completely, and her bone marrow was cleared of the myeloma. There were side effects due to the toxic nature of the treatment which lasted for several days involving headaches, fever and episode of shaking and shivering.
Her remission lasted for 9-months and then the tumor on her forehead returned. However none of the other lesions returned, and her bone marrow remained healthy.
A second person in the study did not have such a similar dramatic response to the treatment as the first. However her tumor did regress and here bone marrow did clear of myeloma.
This type of systemic oncolytic virotherapy has proven in the first patient that a single once-off dose has the ability to target and completely eradicate cancer throughout the body without effecting other cells. It is a major step forward in the treatment of cancer and certainly warrants further study and application.