C.V.: Dear Dr. Shapovalova, how and when did you start working with Rigvir?
E. S.: When I finished my residency in 1967, I started working as a surgeon at the Latvian Oncology Center. I saw patients with various types of cancer, including melanoma. I was introduced to Dr. Aina Muceniece at a time when she was already studying oncolytic viruses. After a few years, in 1971, we started treating stage IV cancer patients with Rigvir. Dr. Muceniece evaluated the patient’s immunological status. After the surgery, the patient received virotherapy with Rigvir.
C.V.: How did the patients respond to the treatment?
E. S.: The first thing the patients noticed was the absence of side effects. They were surprised and happy about that. The second thing was that they had increased survival.
C.V.: Which types of cancer did you treat with virotherapy?
E. S.: At first, we treated melanoma but after some time we started to treat other types of cancer. For example, Dr. Muceniece had good results with breast cancer. In a case of inflammatory breast cancer, she administered Rigvir around the breast and the condition improved rapidly.
C.V.: How was working with Dr. Aina Muceniece?
E. S.: Only many years later, I realized what kind of star I had been next to; Dr. Muceniece was humble and kind, always explaining everything. It was very interesting and exciting working with her. Each patient was like a new book written by Dr. Muceniece; she examined every patient very thoroughly, and palpated all lymphatic nodes. My mother was a doctor, I learned much from her, especially the attitude towards the patients. My other wonderful teacher was Dr. Muceniece who also taught me a lot.
C.V.: Thank you Dr. Shapovalova!
E. S.: Thank you.
Dr. Elita Shapovalova started treating cancer patients with virotherapy 45 years ago. Elita Shapovalova works full time as oncologist at the Latvian Oncology Center.
This interview of Dr. Shapovalova was originaly published in “Cancer Virotherapy” ISSN 2256-0920, Volume 1