Rochester doctor featured in new HBO documentary titled 'Killing Cancer'
A documentary crew spent three days in town last October, according to a Mayo Clinic spokesperson. They followed two cancer patients undergoing oncolytic virus therapy, a type of treatment that uses HIV, measles and other viruses to infect and kill cancer cells while sparing normal, healthy tissues.
Dr. Stephen Russell, one of the developers of the revolutionary treatment, was interviewed for the film by VICE News founder and host Shane Smith. Russell and his team at Mayo are currently working on some of the world's most important advances in cancer medicine.
Last May, the Mayo Clinic became the first institution in the world to prove the therapy can be effective against the deadly cancer multiple myeloma. The findings were first published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
“It’s a landmark,” Dr. Russell told the Star Tribune at the time. “We’ve known for a long time that we can give a virus intravenously and destroy metastatic cancer in mice. Nobody’s shown that you can do that in people before.”
While virotherapy drugs have not yet been approved in the U.S., they are already being used in some Asian countries.
(Cover photo: The Med City Beat)