Virotherapy In Latvia For International Patients: Mode of Action, Clinical Use, And Rigvir® Cost
Last updated June 29, 2017
Chances are, you’ve been looking into Rigvir® for a while. And whether it is the Rigvir® price or clinical use that you would like to learn more about, you are on the right page. Before we dive into the practical side of the question, let’s take a brief look at the Rigvir® timeline.
The unique feature of oncology in Latvia is the use of virotherapy based on locally discovered, researched and produced drug Rigvir®, a virus for cancer treatment. It traces its roots back to the 1950’s when a Latvian microbiologist professor Aina Muceniece discovered that a particular virus living in the digestive system of young children possessed a powerful cancer cell killing capacity.
In 1968, 415 melanoma patients whose cells remained unresponsive to chemo and radio participated in the clinical trial of Rigvir®. The research has proven that Rigvir® is epidemiologically safe (combats and prevents infectious diseases) and has a healing effect in melanoma treatment.
In the following decades, patients diagnosed with skin melanoma and other types of cancer were successfully treated with Rigvir®. The virus was registered in Latvia on April 29th, 2004, it then entered the market in 2005 and has spread throughout 20 countries around the world, including Germany and Mexico.
In 2011 Rigvir® was added to the list of state reimbursed drugs approved by the National Health Service of Latvia. This allows all Latvian patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma to use Rigvir® at no cost. In 2015 and 2016 the drug was approved by the national registration authorities in Georgia and Armenia accordingly.
In 2016, Rigvir® producing company received funding from the European Commission program “Horizon 2020” taking one more step forward to be registered in Europe.
To date, Latvia remains the world’s teaching hub offering in-depth virotherapy training courses, certification, and accreditation of cancer clinics in the field. Since mid-2015, doctors from over 20 countries across the globe have completed the virotherapy trainings including:
- Americas: Canada, the USA, Mexico, and Puerto Rico
- Europe: Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic
- Eastern Europe: Ukraine and Georgia
- Eurasia: Armenia and Russia
- Middle East: Egypt, Cyprus, and the UAE
- East and Southeast Asia: Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand
Now let’s cut down to the essentials.
Being a powerful anti-cancer virus, Rigvir® seeks and infects malignant cells inside your body. It then quickly replicates inside the cells and stays laser-focused on their destruction. Because cancer cells usually camouflage themselves as healthy ones, Rigvir® unveils their mask and mobilizes your entire immune system to fight the disease.
The clinical use of Rigvir® BEFORE its national registration in 2004
Between 1968 and 2004, the year of Rigvir® national registration, over 700 patients suffering from late-stage melanoma, gastric and gastrointestinal cancer were involved in clinical studies with the medicine . The results obtained have shown the following:
- The 3-year survival rate for melanoma patients treated with surgery only was 46-58%, while patients that were also treated with Rigvir® had a 3-year survival rate of 57-84% and a 5-year survival rate of 44-66%
- The 3- and 5-year survival rate for ocular melanoma patients made 90% and 70%, respectively
- The 5-year survival rate for stage III stomach cancer patients after surgery was 24-33%, compared to 47-60% for those who received treatment with Rigvir®
- The 5-year survival rate for stage II-IV rectal cancer patients after surgery was 41-68%, compared with 71-78% for those who received treatment with Rigvir® 
The clinical use of Rigvir® AFTER its national registration in 2004
Malignant melanoma, one of the most aggressive skin cancers, is strongly resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy while demonstrating high vulnerability to Rigvir®. The clinically proven study was described in October 2015 in Melanoma Research, a peer-reviewed medical journal:
“An oncolytic, nonpathogenic ECHO-7 virus adapted for melanoma that has not been genetically modified (Rigvir®)is approved and registered for virotherapy, an active and specific immunotherapy, in Latvia since 2004… These results indicate that the patients treated with Rigvir® had a 4.39–6.57-fold lower mortality than those under observation… In conclusion, Rigvir® significantly prolongs survival in early-stage melanoma patients without any side effect”. 
What it means: patients who have been treated with Rigvir® unlike those who haven’t received the medication were 4-6 times likely to survive.
Lung cancer and sarcoma
Other than melanoma, Rigvir® has proved its efficacy in patients with lung cancer and sarcoma. Specifically, the findings on three case studies including patients diagnosed with stage IV melanoma with metastases, stage IIIA small cell lung cancer, and stage 4 histiocytic sarcoma were published in July 2016 in APMIS (Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica), a medical journal:
“All patients started Rigvir® treatment within a few months after being diagnosed and are currently continuing Rigvir® treatment… Using current standard treatments, the survival of patients with the present diagnoses is low. In contrast, the patients described here were diagnosed 3.5, 7.0, and 6.6 years ago, and their condition has improved and been stable for over 1.5, 6.5, and 4 years, respectively. These observations suggest that virotherapy using Rigvir® can successfully be used in long-term treatment of patients with melanoma stage IV M1c, small cell lung cancer stage IIIA, and histiocytic sarcoma stage IV...” 
Other than the aforementioned conditions, in clinical practice Rigvir® is also applied to fight:
- bladder cancer
- colon cancer
- stomach cancer
- kidney cancer
- cancers of the anal canal
- breast cancer
- cervical cancer
- endometrial cancer
- liver cancer
- lungs' cancer
- prostate cancer
- ovarian cancer
How safe is Rigvir®?
- Because Rigvir® leaves healthy cells untouched, it has shown little or no side effects. Specifically, the body temperature may rise up to 99.5 °F/37.5 °C and stay such for up to three days.
- Additionally, Rigvir® cannot reproduce itself in a human body outside the cancer cell.
- Rigvir® can be combined with other standard cancer treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
If we face the truth without shielding our eyes, we know that for you as an overseas patient the financial side of virotherapy is not less important than its medical aspects.
Therefore, when it comes to the Rigvir® cost in Latvia, planning your budget well in advance would be a good idea. And not because the medical travel will cause you financial problems. In fact, a virotherapy package in Latvia is two times less expensive than that in Mexico or Australia. But because you’ll get the instructions first hand from the clinic with no hidden extra costs or pitfalls having plenty of time for flight booking and other pre-travel arrangements.
Rigvir® treatment for overseas patients in Latvia is represented by the Complex Virotherapy Service Package offered by the Global Virotherapy Cancer Center with every staff member speaking excellent English. The package includes:
- One-week stay at the specialized virotherapy clinic in Jurmala, a famous resort town with white-sand beaches
- Three Rigvir® vials based on the thorough study of your medical case and individual treatment plan developed by the local oncologists and immunologists
- Daily consultations with the oncologist and immunologist to track the course of your treatment and meeting variety of specialists (psychologist, physiologist, art therapist, body and mind relaxation, as well as acupuncture specialist) to ensure the best possible virotherapy results and your well-being.
- Accommodation of various comfort levels and meals recommended by the local nutritionist based on your treatment plan
- Airport meet & greet, transfer to the clinic, 24/7 assistance, city bicycles, and more.
The cost of Rigvir® start-up treatment in Latvia is as follows:
We understand that you would like to know if you or the one you love can be qualified for the Rigvir® virotherapy as soon as possible.
Please fill in the form on the right if you are looking for:
- a free medical statement for you or someone you love
- a Skype consultation with an oncologist
- a Complex Virotherapy Service Package and follow-up treatment
- details about the Rigvir® international delivery
- other information about virotherapy and Rigvir®
After you fill in the form on the right kindly note that:
- we’ll get back to you within 24 hours including weekends and holidays with simple step-by-step instructions
- having your medical files in a digital format will help the oncologists evaluate your case within 2-3 business days
- free conveniences during your stay in Latvia include a laptop, a mobile phone, a gym, city bicycles, and more
If you would like to read the article in your own language, i.e. Polska, Italia, Deutschland, please use Google Translate.
List of References
- Brūvere, R., O., Heisele A. Ferdats, A. Rupais, and A. Muceniece, Echovirus-mediated biotherapy for malignant tumours: 40 years of investigation. Acta medica Lituanica, 2002. Suppl. 9: p. 97-100.
- “Adapted ECHO-7 Virus RigVir Immunotherapy (oncolytic Virotherapy) Prolongs Survival in Melanoma Patients after Surgical Excision of the Tumour in a Retrospective Study.” Doniņa, Simona; Strēle, Ieva; Proboka, Guna; Auziņš, Jurgis; Alberts, Pēteris; Jonsson, Björn; Venskus, Dite; Muceniece, Aina. Melanoma Research: October 2015 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 - p 421–426.
- Alberts, P., E. Olmane, L. Brokāne, Z. Krastiņa, M. Romanovska, K. Kupčs, S. Isajevs, G. Proboka, R. Erdmanis, J. Nazarovs, and D. Venskus, Long-term treatment with the oncolytic ECHO-7 virus Rigvir of a melanoma stage IV M1c patient, a small cell lung cancer stage IIIA patient, and a histiocytic sarcoma stage IV patient-three case reports. APMIS, 2016. 124(10): p. 896-904.
PS. Other than Rigvir® therapy, oncology in Latvia offers chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and hormonal therapy to treat brain tumors, spinal tumors, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, etc.