As I read scientific reports and studies and dive deeper into new treatments for cancer, I am filled with hope and wonder. Thank God for the wonderfully intelligent scientists that are thinking outside the chemotherapy box to find ways not only to treat cancer…but to actually cure it…
The most promising answer to the cancer cure question lies with viruses: One you had injected in you as a kid, one may be making your nose run right now, and one virus has killed thousands in the last 30 years.
Viral therapy #1: Dr Stephen Russell is heading up the Mayo Clinic’s research program using high dose measles virus to attack cancer cells. Dr Russell’s curiosity about using the measles virus was peaked 17 years ago after hearing about a boy in Africa whose tumor receded after contracting the measles. As it turns out, cancer cells can be destroyed very easily by viruses that are not strong enough to kill healthy human cells. So the thought is to create viruses that attach and attack cancer tumor cells. The measles virus is genetically engineered to target and attack cancer cells and ultimately destroy them. The process involves patients being given billions of virus cells…the equivalent of ten million doses of a typical measles vaccine intravenously. This treatment proved to be a CURE for Stacy Erholtz. Stacy had gone through all possible treatments for her stage IV multiple myeloma which had produced a brain tumor that was basically protruding through her forehead. Within 48 hours of receiving the infusion, the brain tumor began to shrink and seven weeks after the infusion, all evidence of her cancer was gone.
What makes this story even more unbelievable is that the benefactors for the research that made most of this therapy possible were known to Stacy. The research benefactors were kept in the loop about patients in the clinical trial, but the patients were given a number, so the benefactors don’t know the names of the patients in the trial. It was only after Stacy came back to the hospital celebrate her success and saw the name on the plaque honoring the benefactors, that she couldn’t believe her eyes. Benefactors Mary Agnes and Al McQuinn were friends of Stacy’s.
Stacy, who was basically given no chance to survive, is alive and well after 10 years. Learn more about Stacy here.
Viral therapy #2: At MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr.s Lang and Fueyo are engineering the common cold virus to attack and kill brain cancer cells. The altered common cold virus, named Delta-24-RGD, is grown and genetically engineered to invade glioblastoma cancer tumor cells. Glioblastomas are the most deadliest form of brain tumors. The virus cells are injected directly into the brain tumor where they invade and destroy the tumor over time. Success is proving to be very promising.
Viral therapy #3: At The Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, amazing results are being seen by genetically modifying HIV cells to boost killer T-cells to attack leukemia and kill it. We all have killer-T cells. These are the cells that identify a foreign body, like a virus that produces an illness, and attacks it. With cancer therapy, the patient’s blood is taken and the T-cells are identified and reprogrammed with gene therapy that tells the T-cells to specifically kill the cancer. Then the patient receives their own super-power T-cells intravenously and the killing begins. Patients experience a severe, flu-like response, and then recover. In some cases 3 pounds of tumor just simply disappeared in 4 weeks. Learn more here. and here
Experts say there’s no reason this therapy can’t be applied to other cancers like breast and colon cancer. Some of these new therapies will be approved and available for use as early as 2016.
These new cures were decades in the making and I applaud the hardworking people who are dedicated to making the cure for cancer a reality. But we must not stop supporting those who are looking for ways to prevent cancer in the first place as the incidence for some cancers, like breast cancer, is on the rise. We must be diligent to continue to identify areas of increased risk in our environment, lifestyles, and practices to decrease the risk of cancer so we never have to hope that we are a candidate for a cure.