Dr.habil.med., Emeritus Scientist
Born – 1924 Katlakalna parish;
Education – Latvian University Faculty of Medicine;
Work experience – Latvian Academy of Sciences Institute of Microbiology, Cancer Virotherapy head of the laboratory, scientific consultant of immunology problems; Publications – three scientific monographs, 190 publications;
Awards – LR Cross of Merit of the particular merits Latvian State (2005).
Aina Muceniece (1924 – 2010) was the Latvian scientist, habilitated Doctor of Medicine, State Emeritus Scientist in immunology and virology, the founder of Virotherapy and the inventor of the anti-cancer drug RIGVIR.
In the 50-ies of the previous century, while investigating the viruses living in the intestines of small children, A. Muceniece discovered a phenomenon that these viruses are capable of destroying cancer cells.
She continued the research in the laboratories of Latvia Academy of Sciences Augusts Kirhensteins Institute of Microbiology. There A. Muceniece studied and discovered a particular virus that had the most forceful cancer-cell destruction capacity, and she called it RIGVIR (Riga virus). With no support and assistance from the state, A.Muceniece persistently continued the work on her discovery and finally the drug found its place on the shelves of drug stores.
A. Muceniece saw her patients in the Policlinics of the Republican Oncological dispenser, now Oncology Centre of Latvia (1977– 1981) and Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital (1981–2003). She evaluated their immune systems and advised about the possibilities of cancer Virotherapy and immunotherapy. Being amazingly compassionate and sympathetic, she treated her patients not only with drugs but also with a kind word. Her attitude encouraged the patients and gave them belief in the chance of healing and recovery, and that is most significant in the management of the disease process. Until the very last days of her life Aina Muceniece constantly reminded her colleagues – doctors that they should not neglect the role of immunity. They should consider the opportunities of immunity in general health prevention and restoration, and especially in onkopathology.
In 1992 A. Muceniece was awarded the Latvian Academy of Sciences, honorary member status, but in 2002 – Latvian Association of Oncologists honorary member status. For the outstanding merits for the Republic of Latvia A. Muceniece was awarded The Republic of Latvia Cross of Recognition (Croix de la reconnaissance) in 2005.
Although the state did not try to support A. Muceniece in her research financially, the scientist was a true patriot of Latvia. At the time when she carried out the sensational discovery A.Muceniece received an invitation from a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland offering her further research and production of the drug possibility, but the scientist refused this offer – she considered that the drug has been primarily created for the inhabitants of Latvia. „It is my job. I am the expert of the usage of this drug, and I wish from the bottom of my heart that my discovery works for Latvia”, said A. Muceniece. This wish has been also documented as her last will.