Stacy Erholtz, a woman afflicted with multiple myeloma or cancer of the plasma cells, may have survived cancer using an unconventional treatment: she was injected with lab-engineered measles virus.
During her treatments, Erholtz tried everything from chemotherapy to stem transplants but the cancer was extremely aggressive. After being injected with the measles virus, Erholtz's cancer went into remission.
This new treatment, called virotheraphy, turns viruses into cancer-fighting microbes. The virus is able to fight cancer without harming healthy cells. Clinical tests show that contracting common infectious diseases during childhood may not be all that bad. These pathogens help ward off cancer naturally.
Several studies show that measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox are just a few of the many infectious diseases that decrease the risk of cancer.
In 2014 a woman with incurable cancer made national news when she went into remission after doctors purposefully infected her with a measles virus. This was not done with a vaccine, but an actual strong and concentrated virus, although in this case, lab-engineered.
Stacy Erholtz who battled the deadly multiple myeloma, tried every chemotherapy available and had two stem transplants with no results, but the measles virus saved her life. She had bad side effects for a few days like fever and vomiting, but her recovery was incredible.
This type of medicine is called virotherapy, and it uses a virus to damage cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells alone. The virus is also stimulating the person’s immune system, making it more adept at fighting cancer, CNN reported.
There were other five patients who tried this treatment at that time. One had a brief remission but then relapsed. The others did not respond to treatment because they already had measles antibodies. Could it be that the antibodies came from vaccines and did not have the same effect, yet prevented the virus from acting?
Many parts of the scientific community are now working with the virus to help find the cure, while the others are questioning if having measles as children would naturally protect us from getting cancers in the first place.
One proof of measles’ natural ability to fight cancer is a story from the 1970s of a boy in Uganda, who got measles by random chance, and it made a remarkable difference – his tumor went away. Although, in his case, it came back a few months later, it made many scientists think hard about the measles’ impact on cancer treatment and prevention.
Image courtesy of: wellunwell