Last year, a new technique for battling cancer was tested on a myeloma patient named Stacy Erholtz, who had run out of options where conventional treatments were concerned. The study, conducted at the Mayo Clinic, involved using a super-charged version of the measles vaccine. Ordinarily a shot of measles vaccine contains 10,000 units of the measles virus, the idea being to make a person immune to the disease while not rendering them sick. The same principle could be used to attack cancer, overwhelming it with 100 billion units of the virus. Erholtz went into complete remission. However, the effects proved to be fleeting in one other patient that was involved in the study.
Because the technique was tried on only two people, with only one having gone into remission, the measles vaccine therapy is not yet considered a miracle cure for cancer. Nor will it work on all types of cancer. Nevertheless, the Mayo Clinic is undertaking a new trial with a larger set of patients. The researchers have undertaken to understand how the therapy works and how effective it might be. If the therapy is refined sufficiently, it might at the very least become another treatment option for people who are afflicted with a particularly deadly form of cancer.
The second trial involves 20 patients initially who have exhausted all other options and do not possess any measles antibodies. If the technique does not have any positive results, it will likely be halted for the initial 20. If it does, an extra 17 patients will be added to the study. The Mayo Clinic is, as of this writing, recruiting test subjects for the study.
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