What does the measles virus and mesothelioma have in common? If you think the answer is “nothing,” then researchers and doctors at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota are hoping to prove you wrong.
In fact, Mayo researchers are currently recruiting patients for Phase 1 of a clinical trial that will study whether the measles virus can be used to treat victims of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer typically linked to asbestos exposure.
According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers involved in the clinical trial anticipate that the vaccine strain measles virus can be used to specifically infect and kill cancer cells, while at the same time sparing normal cells. Researchers also hope that the measles virus will “trigger an anti-tumor immune response” — meaning the immune cells will further destroy existing tumors.
Since there is currently no effective treatment for mesothelioma, the work being done during this clinic trial is of the utmost importance, particularly since new cases of mesothelioma aren’t dropping in many age groups — and are actually increasing in some. If successful, this clinic trial may eventually be able to help countless mesothelioma victims.
Even though it will likely be some time before Mayo researchers determine definitively whether the measles virus actually holds the key to fighting mesothelioma — especially since they are only in Phase 1 of the clinical trial — it is nevertheless an important step in combating this deadly disease. Hopefully, this first step is a successful one for mesothelioma victims.