The measles virus might just be the the answer researchers have been looking for when it comes to cancer treatment. A recent clinical trial found that a modified strain of the measles virus was able to target and reduce the size of tumors in human patients.
Hematologist Dr. Stephem Russell was the lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Two multiple myeloma patients were infused with measles. One experienced "durable complete remission at all disease sites."
"It is a breakthrough," Russell said, as quoted by the LA Times. "We believe it can become a single-shot cure."
Most viruses will attack healthy cells. They can, however, be modified to attack only malignant cells. The issue is that the patient may not have already developed an immunity to the virus.
The younger woman involved in the trial showed "a remarkable response" to the treatment, Russell said. However, she did suffer a severe headache and nausea as the virus was administered. Within just days, a tumour on her forehead began to shrink. She then went into remission for nine months.
The older woman who took part in the trial showed some involvement, but several tumors on her leg began to regrow after initially appearing to shrink.