Measles virus may be used to fight mesothelioma

12 Jul 2017 by Sarah Mahan under Research/Treatment

595px Measles virus 100x100 Measles virus may be used to fight mesothelioma Vaccination programs to protect Americans from the measles virus began in 1963, and since then, the number of measles cases has dropped 99 percent. Now researchers have turned their attention to finding uses for the disease and are actually trying to harness it in the fight against mesothelioma.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota are studying its viability as a mesothelioma treatment because the virus “selectively targets a factor found on the surface of mesothelioma cells,” Mesothelioma Research News reports. The Mayo Clinic is currently recruiting patients with pleural mesothelioma for a Phase 1 clinical trial testing the measles virus as treatment.

Research suggests a particular type of the measles virus, called the Edmonston vaccine strain, triggered cell death of several lab-grown mesothelioma cells in three out of four instances. When combined with approaches to make the tumor’s protein-making mechanisms perform at a faster pace, the treatment became more efficient at killing cancer cells because the virus is using the same mechanisms to replicate.

Cells infected by viruses typically die to let the virus spread, and the same is true when measles infects mesothelioma cells.But how will healthy cells not be infected with the measles? Researchers showed the Edmonston strain requires a protein called CD46 to enter cell tumors. The protein is plentiful on the surface of mesothelioma cells but not on healthy cells, protecting them from infection.

For more information on the clinical trial testing the effectiveness of the virus in treating mesothelioma, visit clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01503177.

 

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