A great woman once told me, “You take the good, you take the bad. You take them both, and there you have the facts of life.” Her name was Mrs. Garrett, and she was my nanny. I’ve always taken what she told me to mean that there have to be some bad things in order for good things to happen. In this case, “the bad” is cancer and “the good” is the measles vaccine. That’s right, a cancer patient at the Mayo Clinic is in complete remission after receiving a massive dose of the vaccine.
The trial was performed on a sample of two patients with myeloma cancer, only one of whom went into remission. While that 50% success rate shows that we haven’t quite seen the end of cancer yet, it’s more than promising enough to conduct further research and trials. That’s exactly what Dr. Stephen Russell, who led the research at the Mayo Clinic, intends to do. In fact, they’re already planning a trial on a larger sample size of patients later this year.
The idea of using viruses to treat cancer is nothing new, but this is a huge step forward. According to Russell, “It’s a landmark. We’ve known for a long time that we can give a virus intravenously and destroy metastatic cancer in mice. Nobody’s shown that you can do that in people before.” It’s not quite as simple as administering a normal vaccination, though. A normal dose of the vaccine contains 10 thousand infectious units of the measles virus. This dose had 100 billion units, enough for 10 million vaccinations.
Myeloma cancer was chosen for the trial because it effects white blood cells, compromising patients’ immune systems. The patients’ lowered immune response couldn’t fight off the measles virus immediately, allowing the virus to feed off tumors to reproduce. Russell has hopes that it can become a single shot cure. The best part of this news? It means that Jenny McCarthy is effectively pro-cancer now. Maybe this treatment can wipe out the anti-vaccination scourge as well.