Warmth against Cancer: Therapeutic Hyperthermia
Hyperthermia means overheating and is amongst others a treatment method used in oncology. Over a hundred years ago, doctors observed that patients overcame their cancer after suffering from a feverous infectious disease. The influence of overheating on the immune system and cancer cells has been increasingly scientifically proven in recent years. This has led to the development of different types of hyperthermia, of which the following are applied at the IOZK:
In modulated electro-hyperthermia, the region where the tumor or metastasis is located is treated with radio waves. The patient lies on a waterbed and the probe is placed above the relevant area. The radio waves damage the tumor cells without affecting healthy tissue. As a result, the cancer cells produce danger signals, which in turn trigger an immune reaction against the cells affected. This process is termed immunogenic cell death (ICD).
Moderate whole-body hyperthermia
In whole-body hyperthermia, the body’s core temperature is elevated to fever-like temperatures through infrared rays. Heart rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and breathing are continuously monitored. The elevated temperature stimulates various immune cells that are important for fighting cancer. In addition, hyperthermia can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy and partially reduce its side effects.