And this is what's going to happen when anti-vaxxers read this news:
Very fascinating! (and promising -- especially if they can get it to work on something like pancreatic cancer) Was reading an article on it this morning -- I notice that this article doesn't mention the death of Evan (the giant tumor located on her forehead).
Oh, Evan still lives:
Dr. Russell said the tumor on her forehead, known has Evan, did return after nine months, but no other traces of cancer were found.
They might read it as validation of their non-vaccination stance -- the treatment will be much more effective in somebody who hasn't been exposed to the vaccine since they won't have antibodies to attack the cancer-killing-virus.
A single anecdote does not a study make. I'll pay attention again once it has undergone a proper double-blind trial or two.
That would be why I worded the headline and the post the way I did. We don't really know what's going on here yet. But I think it's a fascinating line of research ... and it is, very much, something that's being researched.
It's not really a single anecdote... Viral studies like this have been done for years -- they were usually just proof of concept to show that the virus targets the cell or to demonstrate that a virus tagged with chemical-X could still target a tumor. This is just the first time that treatment with a virus like this has resulted in an apparent remission.
There were measurable effects -- the other subject did not experience remission, but they did show a decrease in cancer cells and the protein related to multiple myeloma. Imaging studies also showed that the virus concentrated in the other patient's tumors.
The next step is a bigger trial to see if the measles blitzkrieg works in a larger number of patients — a trial that Mayo expects to launch no later than September.
Watch this space.
Absolutely it doesn't, but a proof of concept is still an extremely useful thing. A proof of concept means that the thing did actually work once, for one person. Which is far more than all those in vitro studies where sprinkling shavings of gold in the test tube killed the cancer, or whatever.
Sure, there are a few possibilities in which this case would have shown nothing at all
- The woman's cancer went into remission suddenly and for unrelated reasons a day after the intervention (seems highly unlikely)
- This woman is one of the only people in the world for which this treatment would work (seems highly unlikely)
- Something else caused the remission (mercury and formaldehyde in the vax..?)
- The authors are being misleading, deliberately or not (certainly possible)
You're absolutely right to say that one should be cautious about anticipating a miracle cure for cancer. But, that said, there's a good reason that this one case of it working on one person has made the news: much like the girl who was cured of AIDS, it very likely means something.
I lost my dad to multiple myeloma 11 months ago. The timing of this article is very sad-making.
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