What is hyperthermia?
Hyperthermia is a treatment method in which tumors are destroyed using heat.
Over 100 years ago, doctors noticed spontaneous tumor regressions in patients who had high fever for a number of days; sometimes the patients even experienced complete remission. This observation led researchers to the conclusion that cancer cells are more sensitive to high temperatures than normal cells.
As a result, instruments were developed to introduce high temperatures deep in the body to areas of malignant tumors.
Hyperthermia equipment currently in use uses radio waves to introduce heat deep in the body into the tumorous areas.
The localized treatment is called “local-regional deep hyperthermia”, or LRDH. Since damage to the cancer cells appears at 42 degrees centigrade, hyperthermia devices use heat between 42 and 56 degrees for the cancer-killing effect.
How does hyperthermia work?
Introducing heat into the body damages tumors in a number of ways:
- The high temperature causes the destruction of proteins in cancer cells. These proteins build up the enzymes essential for cell function. Their destruction causes the cancerous cell to transition into a state of apoptosis (programed cell death).
- The high temperature causes the blockage of blood vessels in the tumorous area. This prevents oxygen and nutrients from reaching the cancerous cell and causes its death due to the lack of these essential substances.
- The heat shock received by the cancerous cell causes it to produce proteins called heat shock proteins (HSP). These proteins are presented on the cancerous cell’s external membrane in order to protect it from another heat shock. HSP proteins are considered “foreign” and are not recognized by the body’s immune system. As a result, the immune system’s blood cells attack the cancerous cells that contain these proteins and try to destroy them.
- The blood vessels in the area of the tumor are narrow and twisted and blood flow is slow. Thus heat generated by the hyperthermia device remains in the tumor for a long time, increasing the extent of damage to cancer tissue at high temperatures.
Hyperthermia – a selective method to treat cancer
Hyperthermia selectively damages cancer cells without damaging normal cells.
- Normal cells can regenerate intracellular proteins a lot faster than cancer cells.
- Healthy cells do not produce Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) and do not cause a reaction of the immune system cells.
Hyperthermia – no damage, no side effects and no pain
The gap between the extensive damage caused by hyperthermia to cancer cells, compared with the lack of damage caused to the normal cells, makes this method a selective and effective treatment method. Hyperthermia is significantly different from chemotherapy and radiation therapy where treatment unselectively damages cancer as well as healthy normal cells.
Since hyperthermia works with no damage to normal tissues and with no side effects, cancer treatment is possible in areas where radiation therapy cannot be used. Additionally, hyperthermia is a treatment option for patients in poor general condition who cannot undergo toxic treatments in the hospital.
Integrating hyperthermia with other treatment methods
Published medical studies show that integrating hyperthermia with certain types of chemotherapy improves the efficiency of chemotherapy. Therefore, combining both treatment methods is synergistic. Chemotherapy agents such as Gemcitabine, Taxol, Doxil and more have been shown to produce a better outcome when administered with hyperthermia.
Similarly, many studies have proven that integrating hyperthermia and radiation therapy doubles radiation’s efficiency.
Hyperthermia is a part of conventional medicine
Over thirty thousand articles and studies have been published about hyperthermia in the medical literature, which you can find on www.PubMed.com (for additional information click here).
Most of the Oncology and Radiotherapy textbooks include special chapters about hyperthermia treatments in cancer.
Where can we find hyperthermia treatment centers?
Hyperthermia devices can be found today in hospitals in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Korea, China, Australia, as well as medical centers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Australia, South Africa, Israel and Jordan.
Hyperthermia treatments at New-Hope Medical Center
Hyperthermia treatments have been offered for many years at New-Hope under the direction of Dr. Joseph Brenner, one of the leading physicians in the world treating cancer with hyperthermia.
The medical center is located in Tel-Aviv and is equipped with the most advanced hyperthermia and oncothermia equipment. The advanced methods enable treating superficial tumors on the skin surface, tumors deep inside the body in a localized area as well as metastatic tumors located in different parts of the body.