Here is a roundup of recent discoveries that could lead to new cancer treatments:
Measles Virus Causes Cancer Remission
A concentrated dose of measles virus – the equivalent of 10 million vaccinations — has sent a woman’s incurable blood cancer into remission. A woman with metastasized multiple myeloma was injected with an experimental dose of measles vaccine in a Mayo Clinic trial.
“The idea here is that a virus can be trained to specifically damage a cancer and to leave other tissues in the body unharmed,” the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Stephen Russell told CNN.
Cancer vaccines that target the tumor and the surrounding tumor microenvironment are producing results that many oncologists and cancer patients are calling “miraculous.” Some researchers believe the recent success with measles vaccine could lead to the development of other “virotherapies” to treat cancer.
Researchers Discover Cancer’s “Mother Cells”
British scientists say they have identified the stem cells that cause cancer. According to London’s Daily Mail, tumors originate from deadly “mother cells” that not only “give them birth” but also nurture and keep the cancer cells alive. Researchers say cancer stem cells also play a critical role in metastasis and the establishment of cancer tumors in other parts of the body.
The existence of cancer stem cells has been theorized, but this is the first time researchers have identified and tracked their progress in cancer patients. Many researchers believe that finding a way to kill cancer stem cells will be a crucial step toward curing cancer.
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