David Gorski: Rigvir ‘virotherapy’ another unproven alternative medicine cancer therapy

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[Editor’s note: Dr. David Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.]

[Cancer treatment Rigvir] is included on the [Latvian] health ministry’s list of reimbursable medicines, meaning public as well as private money is spent on it. Yet as [news magazine] De Facto revealed, in January three professional medical organizations, including the Latvian Oncology Association, wrote to the Health Ministry expressing concern that research and publications used to establish the credentials of Rigvir treatment were of poor quality and scientifically questionable: for example in one study supposedly comparing the outcomes for two groups of patients, one group used Rigvir and the other did not, with the Rigvir patients doing considerably better than the control group. However, the Rigvir patients also used chemotherapy, while the control group did not, which should have rendered the findings highly dubious.

“A letter by some social group saying they don’t like something – it’s just not helpful. Show us data that this medicine does not work for your patients. We don’t have anything to react to at the moment,” said Health Minister Anda Čakša.

What we have in Rigvir is yet another example of alternative medicine co-opting an interesting treatment from history that had been largely abandoned, resurrecting it, and riding it to profits. […] Never mind that there is such a paucity of evidence that it actually works. Cancer patients, beware.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Rigvir: Another unproven and dubious cancer therapy to be avoided


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