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hyperthermia treatment for Cancer

Hyperthermia Treatment For Cancer

For centuries, fever therapy (now known as hyperthermia treatment) has been known to have a significant healing effect.  When you heat up cancer tissues, heat shock proteins develop, initiating immunological mechanisms of defense against cancer cells. Repair mechanisms in the cancer tissue after chemotherapy or irradiation get impaired by hyperthermia. If the chemotherapy or irradiation is performed in combination with hyperthermia these treatments are much more effective. Also, in many cases it is possible to use a lower dosage of chemotherapy which means less toxicity for the patient.

During Hyperthermia therapy, tumorous tissue is heated using different techniques. As a result of this heating:

• The cancer cells are damaged

• The blood and oxygen supply are reduced, causing an increase of cancer cell killing

• The body’s own immunological defense mechanisms are activated

Hyperthermia is applied solely or in combination with radiation, chemotherapy (possibly insulin potentiated) and nontoxic biological cancer therapies. Hyperthermia is also used, very successfully, in the aftercare or secondary cancer prevention. Especially metastasis and tumors that are inoperable or resistant to conventional treatments can be influenced favorably by hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia medical machine

There are different forms of Hyperthermia used at these hospitals:

Extreme Whole-Body Hyperthermia

Extreme whole-body hyperthermia increases the body temperature to induce a fever. The body’s core temperature is increased carefully using whole-body water filtered infra-red-A-irradiation.  The patients’ temperature goes up to about 41° – 42° c (105.8° – 107.6° f).  Whole-body hyperthermia is especially useful in advanced cancer, specifically with metastases in different organs, e.g. in the liver, bones, or lungs. Often, it is possible to use very low doses of chemotherapy so that side effects of the chemotherapy are kept to a minimum. Tumors or metastases resistant to chemotherapy can be successfully treated with a combination treatment of chemotherapy and whole-body hyperthermia.

Local Regional Hyperthermia

This type of hyperthermia can be utilized in three ways.  It can be applied as superficial hyperthermia for different types of skin cancer and skin metastasis of other primary tumors.  Or applied as deep hyperthermia for cancers which are deeply seated such as in the mediastinum, presacral area, liver, and brain. It can also be applied as prostate hyperthermia.

Moderate Whole-Body Hyperthermia

The moderate whole-body hyperthermia mainly activates the immune system. This treatment is given when chemotherapy is not appropriate.  The core temperature of the body is raised to about 103.1° f (39.5°C), and possibly as high as 104.5° f (40.28°C). This temperature simulates a natural fever, increasing the number and activity of natural cells, T-helper cells, and cytotoxic T-cells.  This treatment is also used in cancers that are associated with the immune system like renal-cell-carcinoma, malignant melanoma, and special lymphomas. Moderate whole-body hyperthermia is also used to prevent recurrences.

Insulin Potentiated Therapy (IPT)

Cancer cells need considerably more sugar than healthy ones. They also possess substantially more insulin receptors than healthy cells. The hospitals use insulin, the hormone produced naturally, to lower blood sugar levels. This creates the cancer cells to crave sugar and open their gates to receive a substantial amount. When the blood sugar drops, a small quantity (10-20% of the normal dose) of cytostatic drugs (drugs that inhibit cell growth) are given. We call this condition “the therapeutic window”, because now those hungry cancer cells consume the blood sugar together with the cytostatics. While the cellular gates are wide open, the cytostatics can be transferred selectively into the tumor, creating an enhanced effect of the tumor, with significantly less side effects. Its purpose is to decrease the usual dosage amount of cancer treatment medicine.  Not only is this approach less toxic than conventionally infused chemotherapy, but it also generates a superior “killing rate” for the cancer. Also, this therapy has been shown to benefit cancers that have been resistant to prior treatment.  IPT can be combined with local and systemic hyperthermia as well, leading to an even higher response rate. After this therapy, detoxification treatments are administered to support the liver and immune system. 

Michelle McKeon

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