Measles virus used to kill cancer cells

October 31, 2006

U.S. researchers are starting the second of several pending molecular medicine studies in patients using measles to kill cancer cells.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center scientists opened the new clinical study using a vaccine strain of the measles virus to attack recurrent glioblastoma multiforme -- a largely untreatable brain tumor.

"We are looking at better ways to treat some of the most lethal cancers," said Dr. Eva Galanis, oncologist and lead researcher on the glioblastoma multiforme project in the measles virus investigation. "We have shown in the laboratory and in several animal models that measles virus strains can significantly shrink glioma tumors and prolong animal survival."

The Mayo Clinic says its pursuit of oncolytic measles vaccine strains for cancer treatment is unique, growing from the most basic laboratory science to a sophisticated therapy being tested in several tumor types, including glioblastoma multiforme, recurrent ovarian cancer and multiple myeloma.

The glioblastoma multiforme study, which started Tuesday, is designed to test the safety of the virus for the treatment of gliomas and enable biological monitoring of anti-tumor activity.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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