Loco-Regional Hyperthermia

Loco-Regional Hyperthermia

I. Introduction

The benefits of heat as a means of therapy have been recognized for a centuries. Even Hippocrates and the ancient Egyptians used heat therapy. Heat can cause considerable damage to living cells. Consequently, the body can survive a temperature in excess of 42C (107F) for only a short time.

However, the destructive force of heat can also be a blessing. When skillfully applied, heat can be very beneficial in the treatment of cancer. Malignant growths can be controlled or may even recede as a result of targeted hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia is a non-invasive and particularly gentle method of treatment. It is highly effective because, used alone or in combination with traditional medicine and naturopathic-biological forms of treatment, it is capable of bringing about a distinct improvement in the course of tumor diseases.

This is why hyperthermia plays an important part in the complete, holistic treatment concept at St. George Hospital. For many years, St. George Hospital has worked extensively on researching and improving hyperthermia therapy techniques applied in the treatment of acute cancer, as well as in the after-care of cancer patients. St. George Hospital is among the worlds leading treatment centers in this field.

II. How does loco-regional hyperthermia work?

In loco-regional hyperthermia, heat is focused directly on the organ or area affected by the tumor (as opposed to whole-body hyperthermia, in which the entire body is heated).

First, the affected area is positioned between two applicators. Radio waves directed by computer are concentrated on the tumor, and the temperature is raised to 42 to 44C (107-111F). This temperature is maintained in the tumor tissue for approximately 60 to 90 minutes. A temperature check is carried out either directly within the tumor, or externally by means of a radiometer which, unlike invasive temperature monitoring, carries no risk of infection or of spreading cancer cells.

Heating the tumor tissue to 44C (111F) also affects the adjacent healthy tissue. However, healthy tissue readily dissipates the heat through an increase of blood circulation - something of which the tumor tissue, with its more primitive blood supply, is incapable. The impaired blood supply to the tumor results in inadequate heat regulation and an increased internal temperature.

As a result of this increased heat, the cancer cells are starved of oxygen and nutrients. These deficiencies result in the impairment of the vital metabolic processes of cell division and cancer cell maintenance, causing the failure of the repair systems of the cancer cells. Consequently, the heat-damaged cancer cell components (such as membranes and proteins) cannot be replaced, ultimately resulting in the destruction of the cancer cells.

Furthermore, current research shows that, unlike healthy tissue, when cancer cells are heated to approximately (107F), they form peculiary characteristic protein structures on their surface. These protein structures (e. g. HSP 72), also known as heat-shock proteins, activate the natural killer cells of the body's own defense mechanism to attack the cancer cells. Therefore, hyperthermia works not only by destruction of cancer cells, but also by stimulating the immune system.

III. What diseases are treated with loco-regional hyperthermia?

At St. George Hospital, loco-regional hyperthermia is offered in two different forms -

Loco-regional deep hyperthermia for:

- gynecological tumors such as cancer of the breast or uterus

- pulmonary and hepatic tumors and metastases

- cancer of the pancreas

- cancer of the stomach, bowel, or bladder

- ENT (ear, nose, throat) tumors

- brain tumors

- lymph node metastases and local lymphomas

Loco-regional surface hyperthermia for:

- surface tumors with a penetration depth of 1 - 3.5 cm

- various types of skin cancer and skin metastases of different primary tumors

Loco-Regional Hyperthermia Combined With Other Forms of Treatment:

Loco-regional hyperthermia combines well with chemotherapy. The overly acidic environment of the cancer cell that has been damaged by heat enables some cytostatic agents to achieve a more powerful cell-destroying effect.

The combined effect of both treatments often means that significantly lower doses of the chemotherapy substances are needed than when these are used alone, minimizing their normal side effects, such as hair loss and nausea. Even a tumor that has been resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy will respond well to these therapies following hyperthermia treatment.

V. What other forms of hyperthermia are offered at St. George Hospital?

a) Systemic whole-body hyperthermia in the form of extreme hyperthermia at 41.5 - 42C (106 - 107F), combined with hyperglycaemia, and possibly chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

b) Prostate hyperthermia as a special form of local hyperthermia.

In this case, a heat probe is inserted directly into the urethra and positioned in the prostate, so that the organ is heated to 45 - 70C (113 - 126F).

This hospital is in Germany. Reach them by contacting the US rep:

Contact Marla Manhart, U.S. Liaison St. George Hospital 941 921 3536 www.klinik-st-georg.de GERMANY

Article Q&A from Dr. Douwes Posted, 2005

Remember we are NOT Doctors and have NO medical training.

This site is like an Encyclopedia - there are many pages, many links on many topics.

Support our work with any size DONATION - see left side of any page - for how to donate. You can help raise awareness of CAM.