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Russell said he and his team had engineered the virus to make it more suitable for cancer therapy. And, after just one dose of it, Erholtz’s cancer went into remission. She has been completely cleared of the disease, Russell wrote in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Though, in this trial, the treatments were successful on only one of the two patients.
And Tanios Bekaii-Saab, a researcher at James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute in Ohio, said the study must be confirmed in large randomized clinical trials — where many hopes get dashed, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Ms. Erholtz had tumors spreading all over her body and all of the more conventional form of cancer therapy had been tried without success.
[Viruses] bind to tumors and use them as hosts to replicate their own genetic material; the cancer cells eventually explode and release the virus. Antiviral vaccines that have been rendered safe can produce the same effects and can also be modified to carry radioactive molecules to help destroy cancer cells without causing widespread damage to healthy cells around the tumors. The body’s immune system then attacks any remaining cancer that carries remnants of the vaccine’s genetic imprint.
Russell said the trial taught the medical researchers two things: “No. 1, you need a really big dose and No. 2, the patient needs to not have an antibody to the virus.”
This obviously requires more research before it could become a treatment more widely used than for absolutely last ditch situations. However, it seems likely that the underlying scientific principle could open up new avenues of research.