Doctors kill cancer with measles virus

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Mayo Clinic
This is 49-year old Stacy Erholtz, who received the experimental shot. Is it any wonder why she’s smiling?

Cancer is a devastating illness that occurs when cells in the body divide uncontrollably. While there are a wide range of treatment options available to treat the sickness, no single one is guaranteed to cure cancer patients. Now, however, researchers created a medicine that cleared all traces of cancer with a single shot!

The medicine was actually a vaccine – a weakened form of a virus meant to build your resistance to it – for a disease known as the measles. This highly infectious illness usually causes breathing problems, rashes all over the body, and cold-like symptoms, so how could such a nasty bug heal cancer?

Well, researchers concentrated 10 million doses into a single shot! Even though it seems contradictory for the experimenters to inject a virus into a person who is already ill, they reprogrammed the measles to attack cancer cells instead of healthy ones! This effectively cleared the patient’s body of all traces of cancer.

There were two main reasons why using the measles was so successful, according to the researchers. The first reason was that it sort of kickstarted the patient’s immune system – our body’s natural defenses against disease – and made it more effective at recognizing cancer throughout her body. The second was because the virus essentially clumped together the cancer into larger units and made them explode! There’s still some questions researchers need to answer before they can get this form of treatment to other cancer patients, but this is definitely a promising start to a real cure.

Images courtesy of Mayo Clinic.