In what they describe as a proof of principle study, doctors in the US were able to keep a woman with deadly multiple myeloma - an incurable bone marrow cancer - free of all signs of living cancer cells for over 6 months by giving her just one high dose of measles virus.
Two patients received a single intravenous dose of measles virus that was engineered to kill myeloma plasma cells and not harm other cells.
The team, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, says both patients responded to the treatment, showing reduced bone marrow cancer and levels of myeloma protein.
But one patient, a 49-year-old woman, experienced complete remission and remained disease-free for over 6 months.
A report on this first study to establish the feasibility of the treatment appears in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Proof virotherapy works for disseminated cancer
First author Dr. Stephen Russell, hematologist and co-developer of the therapy, says:
"This is the first study to establish the feasibility of systemic oncolytic virotherapy for disseminated cancer. These patients were not responsive to other therapies and had experienced several recurrences of their disease."
The treatment is an example of oncolytic virotherapy - using engineered viruses to fight cancer - an approach that dates back to the 1950s. Thousands of patients have received this type of therapy, using oncolytic viruses from various families, including common cold viruses, herpes viruses and pox viruses.
But the authors say this is the first well-documented case of a patient with cancer that has spread experiencing complete remission at all disease sites after receiving oncolytic virus therapy. ...More at Medical News Today