WHAT IS HYPERTHERMIA?
THE POWER OF HEAT!
Thermotherapy has been used by physicians for centuries to cure diseases. The first response of our body to fight infections is to increase the body temperature. High body temperature alerts the body and makes our immune system function more efficiently.
‘Give me the power to produce fever and I'll cure all disease’ said philosopher and physician Parmenides. Dr. Bradley Coley, chief doctor at New York Cancer Hospital (current name: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), observed that whenever cancer patients caught a febrile disease, their cancer would regress. Based on this observation, Dr. Coley reasoned that he may cure cancer by injecting into the tumor tissue those bacteria that caused fever. Indeed, Dr. Coley achieved significant success by curing several patients in the 1800s, thereby laying the grounds for hyperthermia.
Assoc. Prof. Mutlu Demiray, M.D., is member to the German Hyperthermia Society. Medicana hospital is certified by the German Hyperthermia Society.
Hence, Medicana has been applying the treatment protocols stipulated by the German Hyperthermia Society. Moreover, Medicana has entered into a scientific collaboration agreement with the Hyperthermia and Nutrition Clinic of Ruhr University in Bochum/Germany.
WHY MAY CHEMOTHERAPY AND RADIOTHERAPY FALL SHORT IN CANCER TREATMENT?
Structural differences in tumor cells are a major reason of failed cancer treatments. For instance, chemotherapeutic drugs cannot sufficiently penetrate into cancer cells due to the different structure of their cell walls.
Chemotherapeutical drugs may fail to reach the cancerous tissue sufficiently due to the chaotic vascular structure of cancer cells. On the other hand, radiotherapy - another method of treating cancer- effects cancer cells only if oxygen is present in the environment. However, cancerous cells are 3-times more resistant to radiotherapy compared to normal cells, since cancerous cells exist in anaerobic environment.
In addition, efficiency of the immune system is impaired due to abnormal electrical activity of cancer cells and their existence in acidic environment. Chemotherapeutical drugs penetrating the cancer cell are ejected from cancer cells by means of pumps located in their cell walls. Thus, the damage caused to cancer cells by chemotherapy and radiotherapy is quickly repaired by cancer cells.
WHICH BENEFITS DOES HYPERTHERMIA PROVIDE FOR CANCER TREATMENT?
Chemotherapeutic drugs administered to treat cancer fail to sufficiently reach the cancerous tissue, and even if they reach the cancerous tissue, they fail to penetrate the cell, and even if they penetrate, they are pumped back out, and even if they remain inside the cell, the damage caused by them can be repaired by the cancerous tissue. On the other hand, radiotherapy destructs cancerous tissues by creating free oxygen radicals in the presence of oxygen. Yet, cancer cells usually exist in anaerobic environment, and are capable to repair the damage caused by radiotherapy. The method to improve the efficiency of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as the two major means of curing cancer, is hyperthermia.
HOW DOES HYPERTHERMIA IMPROVE EFFICIENCY OF CHEMOTHERAPY AND RADIOTHERAPY?
Hyperthermia dilates the blood vessels; whereby chemotherapeutical drugs can access the cancerous tissue better.
Hyperthermia increases the oxygenation of cancerous tissues, thus increasing the efficiency of radiotherapy.
Hyperthermia destructs the cell wall structure of cancerous cells; whereby chemotherapeutical drugs can penetrate the cancerous cells better.
• Hyperthermia deactivates the pumps found in cells walls of cancerous cells, thus helps chemotherapeutical drugs stay inside the cell.
• Hyperthermia interrupts the protein synthesis in cancer cells, thus impeding the cancer cells’ ability to repair the effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Hyperthermia causes alterations in cancer cells, thus helping the immune system be more effective against cancer cells.
Hyperthermia may prevent development of resistance against chemotherapeutical drugs and reverse any resistance that has already developed.
Hyperthermia may kill tumor cells directly. It is long known that the success of cancer treatment will increase significantly by heating only cancer cells, without causing damage to normal cells.
HOW IS LOCAL/REGIONAL HYPERTHERMIA APPLIED?
In parallel with technologic studies, considerable improvements have been achieved in Hyperthermia techniques. Recent technology is capable to create hyperthermia in cancerous tissues only.
The addition of hyperthermia to chemotherapy and radiotherapy has paved the road for significant successes in the treatment of cancer. The successful outcomes have caused several universities in Europe, the U.S., and Japan to initiate intensive studies on thermotherapy and introduce chairs on this topic.
IS HYPERTHERMIA A SCIENTIFIC METHOD?
Hyperthermia has been chosen as academic research area and approved treatment method at several universities including without limitation University of Texas, Harvard Medical School, University of Minnesota, University Hospital of Verona, University of Witten-Herdecke / Bochum, Kansai Medical University Osaka, Duke University Medical Center, Amsterdam Medical Center, and Erasmus MC to name just a few. Hyperthermia has been acknowledged as the 4th arm of cancer treatment by Europe’s leading anti-cancer society.
HOW CAN HYPERTHERMIA BE MADE MORE EFFICIENT BY CHEMOTHERAPY AND RADIOTHERAPY?
Hyperthermia alone is not advised. If combined with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, the efficiency of all treatments will increase.
Hyperthermia increases the efficiency of radiotherapy by up to 500%.
Since chemotherapeutical drugs have different mechanisms of action, the efficiency of chemotherapy is increased by 2- to 10-fold.
Hyperthermia has no side effects.
Hyperthermia does not aggravate side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, because hyperthermia increases the efficiency of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy only in cancerous tissue.
• In cases where chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy are not an option, hyperthermia can be considered on grounds that it has no side effects and is effective on tumor tissue only.