Measles virus used to put woman's cancer into remission

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(CNN) -- A woman with an incurable cancer is now in remission, thanks, doctors say, to a highly concentrated dose of the measles virus.

For 10 years, Stacy Erholtz, 49, battled multiple myeloma, a deadly cancer of the blood. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say she had received every type of chemotherapy drug available for her cancer and had undergone two stem cell transplants, only to relapse time and again.

Then researchers gave her and five other multiple myeloma patients a dose of a highly concentrated, lab-engineered measles virus similar to the measles vaccine. In fact, the dose Erholtz received contained enough of the virus to vaccinate approximately 10 million people.

"The idea here is that a virus can be trained to specifically damage a cancer and to leave other tissues in the body unharmed," said the lead study author, Dr. Stephen Russell.

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