Injection of the measles virus rids woman of cancer.
Her name is Stacy Erholtz. For years, the 50-year-old mom from Pequot Lakes, Minn., battled myeloma, a blood cancer that affects bone marrow. She had few options left. She had been through chemotherapy treatments and two stem cell transplants. But it wasn’t enough. Soon, scans showed she had tumors growing all over her body. One grew on her forehead, destroying a bone in her skull and pushing on her brain. Her children named it Evan, her doctor said. Cancer had infiltrated her bone marrow.
So, as part of a two-patient clinical trial, doctors at the Mayo Clinic injected Erholtz with 100 billion units of the measles virus – enough to inoculate 10 million people. Her doctor said they were entering the unknown. Five minutes into the hour-long process, Erholtz got a terrible headache. Two hours later, she started shaking and vomiting. Her temperature hit 105 degrees, Stephen Russell, the lead researcher on the case, told The Washington Post early Thursday morning. “Thirty-six hours after the virus infusion was finished, she told me, ‘Evan has started shrinking,’” Russell said.
Over the next several weeks, the tumor on her forehead disappeared completely and, over time, the other tumors in her body did, too.