Skip to main content

Measles vaccine eliminates Minnesota woman's cancer

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The cancer of a woman from Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, is in remission after she received a massive dose of the measles vaccine.

According to KARE 11, Stacy Erholtz has battled cancer for 10 years. She received a dose of the measles vaccine – large enough to vaccinate 10 million people.

The treatment appears to have worked as more than a year later she remains cancer free.

"I promise you I have not felt his well, I can't remember how well feeling like this," she told KARE 11. "Having this amount of energy."

Erholtz suffered from multiple myeloma and had undergone nearly every imaginable treatment over the last decade including chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants. Every time her cancer returned – until now.

Dr. Stephen Russell, a professor of molecular medicine, treated Erholtz at the Mayo Clinic, he says her case is the "first well-documented instance of a patient who has received an intravenously administered virus that has cause complete remission of disseminating cancer."

Oncolytic virotherapy exploits cancer cells that usually have weak ability to fight off infections. Russell says the apparent success in Erholtz's treatment is a milestone.

"We've known for a long time that this is possible in mice, but we had not known that it's possible in people," he said. "We now know it's possible and this should energize the field – but we have a lot of work to do."

Doctors remain cautious, though. Virotherapy may only work on some types of cancers or for patients, who haven't been exposed to the vaccine (or have had their immunity wiped out through chemotherapy and radiation).

Erholtz was one of two patients in the landmark study. According to researchers, both of the patients had limited previous exposure to measles and therefore had fewer antibodies to the virus.

The next step will be Phase II of clinical trials for patients without other treatment options.

"Hopefully, by combining the virus with drugs or by increasing the dose further still, we will be able to get those complete cures which we would love to see," Russell said.

Next Up

Melanie Valencia

Northfield bicyclist killed in crash identified as 14-year-old

She was riding her bike to soccer practice before a driver hit her last week.

Samantha Holte

Appeal to find 17-year-old Minnesota girl

She was last seen north of Fergus Falls.

Pixabay - water surface

Man's body found near empty fishing boat on St. Croix River

The boat, and an unoccupied truck found on the shore, belong to a 43-year-old White Bear Lake man.


Police identify MOA shooting suspects, issue nationwide warrants

Three Twin Cities residents were charged Monday in connection with helping the suspects escape.

Screen Shot 2022-08-04 at 7.25.42 PM

Charges: Best Western employees helped MOA shooting suspects escape

Prosecutors allege two Best Western employees helped the suspects escape.

election, vote

What to watch for in 2022 Minnesota primary elections

Bring Me The News brings you a breakdown of what to watch for Tuesday.

Aaron Peterson

Charges: Felon accused of firing shots at police during Meeker Co. standoff

The 31-year-old surrendered after a 28-hour standoff in rural Meeker County.

flash flooding

Weekend rain totals pushed 6+ inches in Minnesota, Iowa; 10 in Illinois

Big-time rain totals across southern Minnesota, southeast South Dakota, northern Iowa and northern Illinois.

Airport traveler flying pixabay

Man who had meth, guns in checked luggage at MSP Airport gets 10 years

Kevin Alan Aguilar-Moreno, 21, attempted to board a Delta flight to Phoenix in October of last year.

Screen Shot 2022-08-08 at 7.13.33 AM

Family identifies man killed by police in Otsego

The 21-year-old was reportedly experiencing 'mental health challenges' and allegedly had a knife when deputies opened fire.

88 S 11th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota - April 2022 (1)

Gun found on WCCO-TV rooftop after homicide in Minneapolis

It's the 56th death reported as a homicide in Minneapolis this year.