California residents with mesothelioma concerns will welcome the news that researchers have made headway in the treatment of the disease, and the promise comes from a source you may not expect. The Mayo Clinic is set to conduct the first phase of a clinical trial that will use a genetically altered measles virus in hopes of treating patients suffering from pleural mesothelioma.
Given the deadly history of measles, it may seem strange that doctors would employ the virus as a possible therapy for patients. Measles itself was successfully combated with a vaccine years ago.
But medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have been working with the National Cancer Institute to test the measles virus, first in a Petri dish and then on lab mice. Doctors say the research has progressed to the point that humans can now undergo the treatment. The goal of this first phase is to determine exactly what the best dosage levels are without harming the patient.
In other words, there will be what is called a "dose-escalation trial," and it is hoped that the genetically altered measles virus will create an anti-tumor response in the body while killing tumor cells and leaving healthy cells alone.
A pulmonary specialist working on the project said the modified virus "kills mesothelioma cells in a dish. It has killed mesothelioma tumors set up in animal models very effectively." He also indicated that the virus has been observed to trigger an immune response.
Mesothelioma patients in Marin County know that any kind of treatment for the disease is expensive. Individuals who believe their cancer may be linked to asbestos exposure need to be aware of the ways by which treatment can be financially covered. This kind of cancer is aggressive, and people suffering from any kind of mesothelioma should learn as much as they can about receiving the proper care.
Source: Asbestos.com, "Mayo Clinic Begins First Trial Using Measles Virus in Mesothelioma Patients," Tim Povtak, Oct. 25, 2012