Stacy Erholtz is the 50-year old woman from Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, who have been struggling with myeloma, a blood cancer that normally affects bone marrow. There was nothing much she could do for her condition.
She had undergone chemotherapy treatments and stem cell transplants twice. Soon, it emerged she had tumors developing all over her body.
She had one on her forehead, which destroyed a bone in her skull and was inching towards her brain. Doctor said that her children coined it Evan. Cancer had invaded her bone marrow.
In a two-patient clinical trial, doctors at the Mayoclinic injected Erholtz will 100 billion units of the measles virus — adequate for injecting 10 million individuals.
Her doctors weren’t aware what would emerge.
Erholtz experienced a terrible headache five minutes in to the hour-long process. After two hours, she started vomiting and shaking. According to Stephen Russell, the lead researcher, her temperature hit 105 degrees.
Russell said that thirty six hours after the infusion, Evan had started to shrink. It is after some several weeks that the tumor on her forehead disappeared completely, and with time other tumors on her body vanished, as well.
Russell stated that they have engineered the virus to enhance its performance in cancer patients. And after a single dose, Erholtz’s cancer started disappearing. In reference to Russell’s writing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Erholtz has been cleared of the cancer. However, in this particular trial, it only succeeded in one of the two patients.
Tanios Bekaii-Saab, a researcher at James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute in Ohio, said the study can only be confirmed in large randomized clinical trials – which crippled hopes for many after the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
In reference to a clinic’s statement Wednesday, Tanois said not unless they proceed to the third stage of development, they were cautiously optimistic.
Clinical trial from researchers at the Mayo Clinic is a clear demonstration that virotherapy – destroying cancer with virus that infects and kills cancer cells without harming normal tissues – can be an effective approach in curbing the deadly cancer multiple myeloma.
Oncolytic virotherapy, which uses re-engineered viruses, can be tracked to the 1950s. Thousands of cancer patients have been successfully treated with oncolytic viruses of many virus families including herpes viruses, common cold viruses, and pox viruses among others. Nevertheless, this study is the first well documented case of a patient with disseminated cancer experiencing a complete remission at all disease sites following infusion of the virus.
What actually happens?
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, viruses bind to tumors using them as hosts to replicate their own genetic material; the cancer cells then in time explode and releases the virus. Most antiviral vaccines that have been considered safe can give the same effects and can undergo modifications to carry radioactive molecules to aid in the exclusive destruction of cancer cells. The body’s immune system then attacks any remaining cancer containing the remnants of the vaccine’s genetic imprint.