MEDICAL SECOND OPINION

Hyperthermia

The Power of Heat!

Physicians have used thermotherapy to cure diseases for centuries. 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, the 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, laying the grounds for hyperthermia. Assoc. Prof. Mutlu Demiray, M.D., is a member of 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 significant reason for failed cancer treatments. For instance, chemotherapeutic drugs cannot sufficiently penetrate cancer cells due to the different structures 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- affects 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 an anaerobic environment. In addition, the immune system's efficiency is impaired due to the abnormal electrical activity of cancer cells and their existence in an acidic environment. Chemotherapeutical drugs penetrating the cancer cell are ejected from cells using pumps 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 reach the cancerous tissue sufficiently. Even if they get the cancerous tissue, they fail to penetrate the cell; even if they penetrate, they are pumped back out. Even if they remain inside the cell, the cancerous tissue can repair the damage they cause. On the other hand, radiotherapy destroys cancerous tissues by creating free oxygen radicals in the presence of oxygen. Yet, cancer cells usually exist in an anaerobic environment and can repair the damage caused by radiotherapy. The method to improve the efficiency of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as the two primary means of curing cancer, is hyperthermia.

How Does Hyperthermia Improve the 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 destroys the cell wall structure of cancerous cells, whereby chemotherapeutical drugs can penetrate the cancerous cells better.

  • Hyperthermia deactivates the pumps found in cancerous cell walls, thus helping chemotherapeutic drugs stay inside the cell.
  • Hyperthermia interrupts the protein synthesis in cancer cells, thus impeding the cancer cell's 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 the development of resistance against chemotherapeutical drugs and reverse any resistance that has already developed.
  • Hyperthermia may kill tumor cells directly. It has long been 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 technological studies, considerable improvements have been achieved in Hyperthermia techniques. Recent technology is capable of creating 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 an academic research area and approved treatment method at several universities, including, without limitation, the 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 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 the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy because hyperthermia increases the efficiency of chemotherapy and radiotherapy only in cancerous tissue. In cases where chemotherapy and radiotherapy are not an option, hyperthermia can be considered because it has no side effects and is effective on tumor tissue only.

Created at 15.06.2024 04:03
Updated at 15.06.2024 04:03

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