“The world’s fight with cancer seems the never-ending story. The worst illness that every year takes away our beloved ones, leaves no family without loss, no soul without grief. Latvia is the lucky place where the idea about the virus to treat cancer was born, thanks to viruses’ natural properties – proactively finding and killing the cancer cells, thus promising the mankind a cure of this deadly disease. The first-ever registered oncolytic virus in the world – Rigvir (ECHO-7 virus strain) comes from the hands of honourable scientist Aina Muceniece who is the founder of practical virotherapy. The sequel, now described in just a few words, was the result of titanic work, perseverance and desire to the science, and true willingness to help people. The virus itself became a safe one with high efficacy and well tolerated by patients, and even without significant side effects. It started in the 1960s, in Augusts Kirhenšteins Institute of Microbiology and Virology, where in a special laboratory the very first preclinical trials with animals were made, followed by safety and efficacy trials. Soon after that, clinical trials started in Rīga, Moscow, and Saratov. It became known that the oncolytic virus induces tumour cell lysis, local immunological reaction, and enhance systemic anti-tumour immunity.”
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