(Editor’s note: Not only has the measles virus saved the lives of a child and adult in this article but several others, some of whom have family members commenting on our story on Facebook today. That’s right. We reported on Lauren Bendesky and Stacy Erholtz who had been treated with mega doses of the measles virus and we’re thrilled they’re still alive and thriving today- and pictured below!)
Stacy Erholtz (in the video below), 49, had battled multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood) for years having repeated chemo treatments (and two stem cell transplants) but the cancer always came back. However, after doctors noticed a little boy in Africa who had a huge tumor that disappeared after a measles infection, researchers decided to test their theory. (We understand a modified version of the measles virus was used, a megadose, not a “vaccine”, but experts say a wild virus could be used.)
And so in 2013, doctors at the Mayo Clinic infected her with a genetically engineered version of “100 billion units of the measles virus— enough to inoculate 10 million people.”4
“As the virus spread through her bloodstream it specifically attacked her cancer cells, shrinking tumors, putting her cancer in remission, and triggering a slew of headlines saying that measles cured her cancer and claiming that her cancer was ‘killed’ or ‘destroyed.'”1
As of the summer of 2018, Stacy remains in remission. So does Lauren Bendesky who was just 17 when it all began and she almost lost her life.
“‘The idea here is that a virus can be trained to specifically damage a cancer and to leave other tissues in the body unharmed,’ said the lead study author, Dr. Stephen Russell. It’s a concept known as virotherapy, and it’s been done before. Mayo Clinic scientists say thousands of cancer patients have been treated with viruses, but this is the first case of a patient with a cancer that had spread throughout the body going into remission.
‘I think we succeeded because we pushed the dose higher than others have pushed it,’ Russell said. ‘And I think that is critical. The amount of virus that’s in the bloodstream really is the driver of how much gets into the tumors.'”2
Basically, the enormous amount of engineered measles virus given caused the cancer cells join together and explode. And, because the multiple myeloma patients were already immune-deficient, their bodies couldn’t fight off the virus before it had a chance to attack the cancer cells. (Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Angela Dispenzieri says there is evidence to suggest that the virus stimulates the patient’s immune system, helping it to recognize any recurring cancer cells and take care of them).
In late 2014 the trial entered its second phase, “with nearly 400 patients on a wait list hoping to have a reaction similar to Erholtz’s. But the researchers only have enough engineered measles virus to treat 20 patients initially.”3 It appears the Mayo trial is currently ongoing.
No one wants to get sick; people don’t sit around dreaming of contracting measles. But here’s more proof that perhaps getting measles isn’t the worst thing in the world.
We will update you once more information on the Mayo trials is available.