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Medicine

Measles Virus Puts Woman's Cancer Into Remission 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fire-with-slightly-cooler-fire dept.
clm1970 sends news that researchers from Mayo Clinic have successfully put a patient's cancer into remission using a modified measles virus. The researchers are quick to note that further trials are needed to determine whether these results are repeatable. Here are the two academic papers. "Multiple myeloma in a 49-year-old woman seemed to disappear after she received an extremely high-dose injection of a measles virus engineered to kill the cancer cells. Multiple myeloma affects immune cells called plasma cells, which concentrate in the soft tissue, or marrow, inside bones. A second woman also with multiple myeloma began responding to the therapy, but her cancer eventually returned. Four other patients who received the high-dose therapy had no response. .. [Dr. Stephen Russell] and colleagues believe the two women who showed some response had few or no circulating measles antibodies, which might eliminate the engineered virus before it has a chance to kill the cancer cells. The therapy will now enter a mid-stage trial to see whether more patients with low circulating antibodies respond to high-doses of the virus, he said."
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Measles Virus Puts Woman's Cancer Into Remission

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  • GMO!!1!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This has to stop before it gets out of control
  • by hsmith (818216) on Friday May 16, 2014 @06:07PM (#47021803)
    How we are going to give adults autism too.
  • Damnit! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2014 @06:07PM (#47021805)

    So now the MMR vaccine causes cancer, as well as autism?

    • by tuck182 (43130)

      I don't believe that "put into remission" and "caused" are anywhere near the same thing.

      • Measles virus is the one that apparently puts the cancer into remission. If the MMR vaccine stops the virus, then the vaccine "causes" cancer.

      • We are making fun of vaccine denialists/anti-vaxxers and you are trying to bring in rationality.

        You might want to check your vaccine history.
  • I just can't help asking myself, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 16, 2014 @06:39PM (#47022033) Journal
      The neat thing about terminal cancer patients is that the answer is "Not much that would be worse than the alternative."

      It's...very liberating.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The poster meant what could possibly go wrong for the rest of the population.

      • by radtea (464814) on Friday May 16, 2014 @07:06PM (#47022159)

        The neat thing about terminal cancer patients is that the answer is "Not much that would be worse than the alternative."

        Conversely, this high bar makes it very difficult to improve on invasive but adequate treatments. Consider mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer: it works pretty well, and that makes it damned near impossible to test any alternative treatment that might work just as well or better, and which would certainly be less invasive.

        I worked on a cancer-therapy project once and had the clever idea of applying the technique we were using--which was aimed at something that was incurable at the time--to certain kinds of breast cancer, which was just similar enough to be an interesting candidate for the technique. I talked to a breast cancer researcher and he said, "That's a really clever idea. It sounds plausible. I can't do anything with it." And then explained the above reasoning.

        This means that we tend to focus on treatments for currently untreatable cancers, and once we have something that is semi-OK, the rate of improvement goes way down. It doesn't go to zero, by any means, but the incentives shift in a way that is both perfectly logical and kind of perverse.

        • Conversely, this high bar makes it very difficult to improve on invasive but adequate treatments. Consider mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer: it works pretty well, and that makes it damned near impossible to test any alternative treatment that might work just as well or better, and which would certainly be less invasive.

          We already do. It's called "lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy" for small enough tumors. No need to take off the entire breast.

          I worked on a cancer-therapy project once and had the clever idea of applying the technique we were using--which was aimed at something that was incurable at the time--to certain kinds of breast cancer, which was just similar enough to be an interesting candidate for the technique. I talked to a breast cancer researcher and he said, "That's a really clever idea. It sounds plausibl

        • by sirlark (1676276)

          This means that we tend to focus on treatments for currently untreatable cancers, and once we have something that is semi-OK, the rate of improvement goes way down. It doesn't go to zero, by any means, but the incentives shift in a way that is both perfectly logical and kind of perverse.

          It's called the law of diminishing returns, and applies to nearly everything sadly

      • by ponos (122721)

        [quote]
        The neat thing about terminal cancer patients is that the answer is "Not much that would be worse than the alternative."
        [/quote]

        Needless, excessive suffering can be worse in some ways. At some point, futile treatments only serve to maintain an illusion of hope. That illusion is, of course, important in some ways, but can come at an unreasonable price.

  • by The_Other_Kelly (44440) on Friday May 16, 2014 @06:14PM (#47021853) Journal

    I know what happens now ... Vampires, end of world, bad acting, dead dogs and lots of dodgy special effect monsters.

    And Emma Thompson. So not all bad ...

  • "Hi Im Will Smith! You might know me from such shows as Fresh Prince, Bad Boys and I am Legend ...."

    • by vandelais (164490)

      Your analogy makes no sense.
      The vaccine is Dr. Phil and the cancer is DJ Jazzy Jeff getting thrown outta the house.

  • FUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by godel_56 (1287256) on Friday May 16, 2014 @06:18PM (#47021881)
    Apart from all the misinformation being spread by the first half dozen anti-immunization posters, you did notice that these patients probably had otherwise incurable cancers, so any reasonable chance of a cure is worth taking.
  • Neat... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Friday May 16, 2014 @06:18PM (#47021883)

    Multiple myeloma is forever.

    My father's fighting multiple myeloma. He beat it into remission once with a marrow treatment, and after 5 years (which is about par for the course), it came back. Enough chemo pills to bankrupt a horse later, he's teetering on the brink of remission #2, but likely going to be taking a prophylactic/maintenance dose of chemo drugs until the next time it comes out of remission - which might be the cycle he's on for the rest of his life (which we now measure in +-5 year blocks).

    There's a certain point in the process at which a painful year of chemo treatments or inpatient marrow treatments gambling for a 5-year remission in a 70-year old becomes a losing proposition, but knowing you can possibly press the snooze button on cancer through normal methods enough times that perhaps, perhaps, just get your Super Measles! shot someday for your next 5-years snooze is promising.

    Here's hoping.

    • Its always good to think there may be another option on the table.

      Hope your dad keeps ahead of it.
    • by vux984 (928602)

      . Enough chemo pills to bankrupt a horse later

      "bankrupt a horse" ? That's an odd expression.

      I am sorry to hear about your father though. Here's hoping indeed!

    • by twosat (1414337)

      My mother died of multiple myeloma nearly 5 years ago. She was told that she had about 18 months to live. She died after about 3 months when it spread to one of her lungs - something rare in a rare disease. Looking back on it, I'm kind of glad that she did not have to suffer a long, drawn-out sickness and slow death.

  • by russotto (537200) on Friday May 16, 2014 @06:36PM (#47022005) Journal

    "...when wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a junior doctor in my first year of work, this fills me with such hope and joy. This isn't just cancer, its multiple myeloma. A cancer of the cells in your bone marrow which forces a single type of immune cell to go into overdrive, pouring out malformed antibodies. It ruins kidneys and breaks down bone, Google 'pepper pot skull'. A ferocious, fearsome disease. I'll always remember being a med student and seeing a patient with a particularly bad case talking to his too young kids about how the next bone m

    • "Eat For Health - The Anti-Cancer Diet" https://www.drfuhrman.com/libr... [drfuhrman.com]

      Especially mushrooms as discussed there...

      Also look into iodine, vitamin D, and exercise (including to keep the lymph moving so it can do its job). And good sleep and various ways to relax (friends, music, laughter, nature walks, pets,etc.-- see Andrew Weil and also Blue Zones) and put the nervous system in a health-promoting state of mind as far as controlling the immune system.

      And also avoiding toxins/radiation in food and the enviro

  • ..Wasn't this how the new I am Legend started?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why can't the headline start with "ENGINEERED Measles Virus [...]". Be accurate.

    • by RDW (41497)

      Why can't the headline start with "ENGINEERED Measles Virus [...]". Be accurate.

      The engineering was incidental to the success of the treatment in these particular cases. The 'oncolytic' virus, already adapted to preferentially infect tumour cells just by growing it in tumour cell cultures, has indeed been engineered to express a protein that mediates iodine uptake into infected cells, but in the current study this was only used for tracing the infection with radioactive iodine. The tumour cells were killed by normal viral mechanisms. However, using a higher dose of radioactive iodine,

  • by muhula (621678) on Friday May 16, 2014 @07:54PM (#47022355)
    It's interesting that the treatment is hypothesized to have failed for people who already had measles antibodies. Perhaps the "extinct" viruses the CDC keeps around might be good for engineering future treatments.
  • And here everyone thought the antivaxxers were crazy and dangerous and no good would come of their efforts!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here's your Myeloma 101. It is incurable. Still. The Engineered, very high level Measles Vaccine is only good for those patients who have run out of all other options- have very,very little immune system and it still not proven as anything more than a treatment--She did develop another tumor more recently. But yes, it is better than being told, " Go Home and Put your things in order". That speech is the one the hard-working Myeloma doctors hate to give and they have to much too often.

    The myeloma cell is a c

    • by tsa (15680)

      I don't intend to sound rude so please try and take my question seriously: if the treatment is so bad and it doesn't help, isn't it better to choose not to be treated and just die of the disease? It seems to me that saves you a lot of agony.

  • My non-existing god, she must feel horrible. Normal cancer treatment isn't nice to begin with and then this virus on top of that. I wish her strength.

  • So getting the measles vaccination can stop you getting a cancer cure in the future... Although I suppose recovering from actually getting measles would give you the same antibodies.

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