Doctors say measles cured woman of cancer

Posted at 11:33 AM, May 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-16 11:33:18-04

PEQUOT LAKES, Minn. (KARE) - Researchers at the Mayo Clinic said they wiped out a Minnesota woman's incurable blood cancer using a massive dose of the measles.

"I think it already is huge. It's huge in the making," Stacy Erholtz said about her role in medical history.

For 10 years Erholtz has battled multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.

She said she was out of options last summer when the Mayo Clinic chose her for an experimental procedure in which they injected her with a large amount of the measles virus.

"Afterwards I found out it was enough vaccination to inoculate ten million people," she said.

The treatment lasted 40 minutes and left Erholtz with a very painful headache and fever. Both, she said, disappeared fairly quickly. Her cancer disappeared too.

"I had a plasmacytoma right here on my forehead the size of a golf ball and within 36 hours it was gone," she said. "I was really excited."

Doctor Stephen Russell said researchers have known for years that viruses could kill cancer in animals, but never in humans.

"Viruses can work as a vaccine, and if you inject a virus into a tumor you can provoke the immune system to then come and destroy that cancer and other cancers," Dr. Russell said. The success Erholtz experience has not yet been replicated.

"It's the way of the future, and I'm so excited for other people to experience this," she said.

The Mayo Clinic is moving toward another clinical trial involving more patients. They hope to get FDA approval for the treatment within four years.