MESOTHELIOMA AND MEASLES
The Mayo Clinic, is a not-for-profit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota. The clinic has conducted a clinical trial using an altered version of the measles virus to fight pleural mesothelioma.
Before the spread of measles was reduced by vaccination, it was noted that cancer patients who contracted measles often experienced tumour shrinkage. Using this as a basis for their research, advanced molecular science has allowed a new gene to be inserted into the measles virus allowing it to target mesothelioma cells.
The experimental treatment, virotherapy involves the altered measles virus being delivered directly between the lungs and the pleural membrane using a catheter. In order to monitor the effects of the virus, radioactive iodine is also inserted for imaging purposes. It is hoped that when the virus comes into contact with the mesothelioma cells it will not only start killing the cancer cells, but will also trigger an immune response to strengthen the attack on the mesothelioma cells.
The treatment has not yet been tests on human mesothelioma patients but laboratory results involving testing on live mice have been positive, with some mesothelioma mice with treatment having lived twice as long as those left untreated.
The next stage and the most important, is for the treatment to be tested on human sufferers.