Researchers at Inserm in Nantes are working on a new therapeutic approach to cure cancer. Their work mainly concerns high-dose injection of measles virus into cancer cells to induce death. A promising technique that could in the future combat all types of cancer.
Can the measles virus be used as a cure for cancer? A team of 17 researchers is working on this hypothesis in the Inserm laboratory in Nantes. Their idea is to inject the measles vaccine into the cancer cells at high doses to induce an immune response in the body and induce death, while leaving the surrounding healthy cells unaffected.
For now, scientists are focusing their research on pleural cancer, a thin membrane located between the lungs and the chest wall, but in the future, this method could apply to all types of cancer. "However, we can only act when the cancer starts, when the tumor is palpable, when we can access it, because the strategy is to inject the vaccine into the tumor to kill the cancer cells", says France 3 Regions, Dr. Marc Grégoire, Research Director at Iserm and President of the League against cancer in Loire-Atlantique.
A therapeutic technique known since the twentieth century
At a conference given last December in Brest on the subject and relayed by the Telegram, the doctor explained that the effects of a virus such as measles on certain types of cancer had been known for a long time, but fell into the oversight. "A patient suffering from a lymphoma in the face saw his cancer cured after contracting a measles This observation was made at the beginning of the twentieth century".
This discovery suggests that the human immune system is able to fight cancer cells before cancer develops. "Our Nantes team was interested in anything that could prevent the body's immune cells from attacking the cancer cells, which are able to hide from our defenses. measles went into the cancer cell and not into the healthy and managed to destroy it. "
What dose of vaccine is needed?
Associated with immunotherapy, a treatment that involves administering substances that will stimulate the immune system of the body, this technique could bring solid results. Currently, vaccines against polio, herpes, measles and smallpox are used to treat cancers of the lung, brain, ovary and melanoma. Are injected "large doses of vaccines that range from 50,000 to 100,000 ampoules, when only one to vaccinate", nevertheless specified the researcher. "Despite these doses of horse, no patient has died of the 250 or so people who have benefited from such treatment.There is no toxicity or real side effects in patients."
Cancer in a few numbers
In 2017 in France, about 400 000 new cases of cancer and 150 000 deaths were identified. On average, 54,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year and approximately 12,000 deaths are counted. Healing for breast cancer depends on many factors, including the age, size and type of the tumor and the stage of the disease. Generally, an early diagnosis of the tumor is more likely to be successfully treated: the 5-year survival is 99% for breast cancer detected at an early stage, it is 26% for a metastasized cancer.