Rigvir Oncolytic Virotherapy

An Immunotherapy and Oncolytic Virotherapy

Rigvir Oncolytic Virotherapy


Rigvir® is an oncolytic virus (OVs), a class of treatments that targets cancer selectively, without harming healthy cells or surrounding tissues.1-2  The therapeutic strategy that utilizes OVs is known as Oncolytic Virotherapy.

Rigvir Virotherapy Mechanism
Figure 1. Mechanism of Oncolytic Virotherapy

How Does Oncolytic Virotherapy Work?

The selective targeting of cancer cells (“oncotropism”) comes from the natural tendency of most viruses to gravitate towards and preferentially infect cells a small group of tissue types, e.g. liver, respiratory mucosal layer etc.

Following infection, the virus can break down the cells (“lysis”) or indirectly target them through the engagement of a host-mediated immune response (Figure 1). Oncolytic viruses can create an “immune storm” in the tumor, arousing both innate and adaptive immune responses. Recent reports have shown that oncolytic virotherapy can work synergistically with immunotherapies,3 while acting as an immunotherapy by itself.

An oncolytic virotherapy agent must balance its strong cytotoxic action with a lack of pathogenic viral activity that leads to other diseases and complications. To this day, there has been only one virus discovered that exhibits these properties in its natural state – the ECHO-7 enterovirus, also known as Rigvir®.

Rigvir®: World’s First Clinically Approved, Genetically Unmodified Virotherapy

Rigvir® is a product from the International Virotherapy Center (IVC) based in Riga, Latvia. In 2004, Rigvir® became the first approved oncolytic virotherapy in the world, approved and registered in Latvia as an active and specific immunotherapy. Rigvir® is the result of over 50 years of research conducted in Latvia4-7 under the leadership of legendary virologist, Dr. Aina Muceniece, and has been tested for safety and efficacy in thousands of patients in Latvia. Besides the occasional slight temporary fever, Rigvir® has virtually no side effects. These results are consistent with Hope4Cancer’s experience with Rigvir® in patients since 2014.8

How Does Rigvir® Compare to Other Virotherapies?

In recent years, the pharmaceutical industry has joined the oncolytic virotherapy band wagon. However, their strategy involves taking less tissue-specific disease-causing viruses, and genetically altering them to remove virulence. The FDA accelerated approval of the OV T-VEC,9 despite very limited success in clinical trials. The issues of potential side effects from virulence and the introduction of live viruses with altered genes is a matter of great concern. The pharmaceutical industry is now evaluating combinations of oncolytic virotherapy with chemotherapy10 or immunotherapy11 to improve efficacy. The Rigvir® virus, on the other hand, is a virus that exists naturally in the intestines of healthy humans (it was first identified in the faeces of young children), has not been known to cause any disease over decades of study, and is introduced into the body genetically unaltered. In other words, Rigvir® has the best safety and efficacy profile among existing oncolytic virotherapies.12

Clinical Studies and Cancers Treated With Rigvir®

Rigvir® has been clinically evaluated for safety and efficacy in about 2000 patients with a variety of cancers. Figure 2 shows a limited set of cancers that were evaluated, although clinically we have observed effectiveness against a larger range of cancers, with lymphoma being the only contraindication.

Cancers Treated by Rigvir (based on IVC clinical data)
Figure 2. Cancers Treated by Rigvir (based on IVC clinical data)

Clinical studies conducted at IVC on early stage melanoma patients have shown a 4.39 – 6.57-fold lower mortality in patients undergoing Rigvir® therapy.13 No untoward side effects were reported during or on discontinuation of Rigvir®. A case report study14 published by IVC reports excellent survival extension for three patients diagnosed with melanoma stage IV M1c, small cell lung cancer stage IIIA, and histiocytic sarcoma stage IV diagnosed 3.5, 7.0, and 6.6 years ago, respectively. The patients have improved and have been stable for 1.5 (melanoma), 6.5 (lung), and 4 (sarcoma) years, far exceeding projected survival expectations.

How Is Rigvir® Used at Hope4Cancer

To maximize impact and benefit from potential synergy, Hope4Cancer typically prescribes Rigvir® as part of a combination treatment protocol. Rigvir® is usually paired with Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy or Sunivera ImmunotherapyTM, in addition to other standard treatments in accordance with the Seven Key Principles of Cancer Therapy. In certain isolated, early stage diagnoses, our doctors may also prescribe Rigvir® as a standalone therapy. For patients interested in cancer prevention, Rigvir® is an excellent choice as well.

To learn more about Rigvir®, download Hope4Cancer’s Rigvir® Virotherapy E-Book from here.





Disclaimer: Hope4Cancer treats cancer patients with Rigvir® only at its Mexico treatment centers. The product is not available for purchase in the United States.



  1. Parato, K. A.; Senger, D.; Forsyth, P. A.; Bell, J. C. Recent progress in the battle between oncolytic viruses and tumours. Nat Rev Cancer 2005, 5 (12), 965-76.
  2. Bartlett, D. L.; Liu, Z.; Sathaiah, M.; Ravindranathan, R.; Guo, Z.; He, Y.; Guo, Z. S. Oncolytic viruses as therapeutic cancer vaccines. Molecular cancer 2013, 12 (1), 103.
  3. Melcher, A.; Parato, K.; Rooney, C. M.; Bell, J. C. Thunder and lightning: immunotherapy and oncolytic viruses collide. Mol Ther 2011, 19 (6), 1008-16.
  4. Ferdats, A.; Volrate, A.; Heisele, O. G.; Glinkina, L. S.; Muceniece, A. Induction of Alloimmunity to the Melanoma Associated Antigen by Enterovirus Echo-7. Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences B 1993, (5), 65-67.
  5. Glinkina, L. S.; Bruvere, R. [The reaction of the T-immunity system in patients with malignant skin melanoma and stomach cancer to active nonspecific immunotherapy]. Vopr Onkol 1992, 38 (6), 659-66.
  6. Glinkina, L. S.; Bruvere, R.; Venskus, D. R.; Garklava, R. R.; Muceniece, A. J. [The cellular immunity indices of patients with malignant melanoma using the viral immunomodulator rigvir]. Vopr Onkol 1992, 38 (5), 540-7.
  7. Glinkina, L. S.; Heisele, O. G.; Garklava, R. R.; Muceniece, A. J. [The humoral immunity indices of patients with malignant skin melanoma using the viral immunomodulator rigvir]. Vopr Onkol 1992, 38 (5), 534-40.
  8. Jimenez, A.; Chakravarty, S. Breakthrough Treatment at the Frontier of Cancer Medicine. Integrated Health Magazine 2014.
  9. Andtbacka, R. H.; Kaufman, H. L.; Collichio, F.; Amatruda, T.; Senzer, N.; Chesney, J.; Delman, K. A.; Spitler, L. E.; Puzanov, I.; Agarwala, S. S.; Milhem, M.; Cranmer, L.; Curti, B.; Lewis, K.; Ross, M.; Guthrie, T.; Linette, G. P.; Daniels, G. A.; Harrington, K.; Middleton, M. R.; Miller, W. H., Jr.; Zager, J. S.; Ye, Y.; Yao, B.; Li, A.; Doleman, S.; VanderWalde, A.; Gansert, J.; Coffin, R. S. Talimogene Laherparepvec Improves Durable Response Rate in Patients With Advanced Melanoma. J Clin Oncol 2015, 33 (25), 2780-8.
  10. Binz, E.; Lauer, U. M. Chemovirotherapy: combining chemotherapeutic treatment with oncolytic virotherapy. Oncolytic Virother 2015, 4, 39-48.
  11. Coffin, R. S. From virotherapy to oncolytic immunotherapy: where are we now? Curr Opin Virol 2015, 13, 93-100.
  12. Jimenez, A.; Chakravarty, S. Rigvir Virotherapy (E-Book). Baja California, Mexico, 2014.
  13. Donina, S.; Strele, I.; Proboka, G.; Auzins, J.; Alberts, P.; Jonsson, B.; Venskus, D.; Muceniece, A., Adapted ECHO-7 virus Rigvir immunotherapy (oncolytic virotherapy) prolongs survival in melanoma patients after surgical excision of the tumour in a retrospective study. Melanoma Res 2015, 25 (5), 421-6.
  14. Alberts, P.; Olmane, E.; Brokane, L.; Krastina, Z.; Romanovska, M.; Kupcs, K.; Isajevs, S.; Proboka, G.; Erdmanis, R.; Nazarovs, J.; Venskus, D., 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), 896-904.


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