Virotherapy is a relatively new field in oncology, one of the types of biotherapy that applies oncotropic and oncolytic viruses in the treatment of cancer. It is based on the usage of some harmless viruses that are capable of finding and destroying cancer cells in a human body. This is the reason why virotherapy is considered to be the most harmless and safest treatment available. It increases the patients life expectancy and improves quality of life. The virotherapy drug developed in Latvia is the first officially approved virotherapy drug in the world.
Virotherapy is an important treatment of those tumours that are not responding well to the radiotherapy and chemotherapy, for example, the most aggressive and malignant cancer form – melanoma. The particular virotherapy drug developed in Latvia is officially registered as treatment for melanoma in Latvia. In clinical practice, however, it is also used for other types of cancer, based on the individual decision of the physician: stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, uterine cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, several types of sarcoma, liver cancer.
The safety of virotherapy treatment is confirmed. It causes very little side effects, may show a slightly higher temperature – 37.5 C for 1-3 days.
Virotherapy is being applied in the form of intramuscular injections that takes place in ambulatory settings in outpatient centres, following individual treatment protocols. An average treatment lasts for 3 years. During that time, regular monitoring of blood tests is performed along with the observation of the patient. Virotherapy is carried out exclusively by doctors certified in virotherapy.
Oncological virotherapy can be considered as safe and effective cancer treatment that prolongs relapse-free period, improves survival rate and patient’s quality of life.