Hyperthermia Blog

News and Opinions About Our Industry

Dario Rodrigues Ph.D. is an assistant professor and thermal oncology physicist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Rodrigues's medical specialty is the treatment of cancer using hyperthermia therapy in combination with radiation treatments. Hyperthermia is a thermal therapy technique administered by focusing radio and microwaves to generate a cellular heat response.  As a physicist, he performs adjuvant hyperthermia treatments of pelvic, abdominal, and superficial tumors. He is also responsible for the treatment planning, thermal dosimetry, and quality assurance of the clinical hyperthermia equipment.

comsol 1

Dr. Rodrigues is also a talented researcher. At the recent COMSOL Conference, he presented his computer simulation results of a novel noninvasive brain applicator, which will pave the way to treat brain cancers using focused microwave hyperthermia.

comsol 2a

Treating brain cancers, like glioblastoma multiforme, with hyperthermia and radiotherapy, is not new. Clinical studies, like "Survival benefit of hyperthermia in a prospective randomized trial of brachytherapy boost +/- hyperthermia for glioblastoma multiforme," Sneed, 1998, was an early phase III landmark study demonstrating heightened clinical response and increased survival. But the invasive nature of interstitial hyperthermia requires a specialty that few possess. Creating a non-invasive method of applying and steering microwave hyperthermia may bring some relief to those with non-operable Glioblastomas.

We will continue to follow his progress in pushing forward these advancements in the field of thermal oncology.

For the last 40 years, Pyrexar Medical has developed technologies to allow researchers and clinicians to expand the boundaries of thermal oncology. It is in this pursuit, we continue to develop and improve methods and technologies to lead the world in non-invasive cancer treatments.

Patent US 10,737,106 "Apparatus and Method for Creating Small Focus Deep Hyperthermia in Tissues of the Brain” is another step closer to our ultimate goal of improving the lives of patients with cancer.

patent figure 23

Congratulations to our entire team, and affiliated partners throughout the world, for making the patent achievement possible. Special recognition also goes to inventors Paul Turner, CTO, and Jason Ellsworth, VP of Engineering, for making this technological breakthrough a reality.

The infographic above highlights the benefits of using hyperthermia as an adjunct treatment for MIBC (Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer). Information based on a dual-arm study Long-Term Experience of Chemoradiotherapy Combined with Deep Regional Hyperthermia for Organ Preservation in High-Risk Bladder Cancer (Ta, Tis, T1, T2) by Merten, et al., published in the December 2019 issue of The Oncologist.  The study treated 369 patients from 1982-2016.  Patients in the RCT-RHT group received deep regional hyperthermia, once a week, using the Pyrexar BSD-2000/3D.

An important conclusion is that, not only is RCT+HT an alternative to the surgical cystectomy, but it actually preserves the bladder function where the cystectomy damages normal function of the bladder

What the study may not highlight is the improved quality of life compared to the current standard of care, Cystectomy.  If you have a radical cystectomy, you'll need reconstructive surgery to create a new way for urine to leave your body. Depending on the type of reconstruction, patients may need to learn how to empty a urostomy bag or have a catheter into their stoma. 

Cystectomy Side Effects not found in hyperthermic approach:

  • Infections
  • Urine leaks
  • Incontinence
  • Pouch stones
  • Blockage of urine flow 
  • Erectile Disfunction
  • Absorption problems (depends on the amount of intestine that was used)

The complete article is available on the NIH PubMed website.

 

In a new study from the University Hospital at LMU Munich, clinicians looked to improve outcomes for patients with triple-negative breast cancer. According to breastcancer.org, Triple-negative breast cancer is cancer that tests negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and excess HER2 protein. These results mean the growth of the cancer is not fueled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, or by the HER2 protein. Approximately 10-20% of breast cancers are triple-negative breast cancer and is common in women under the age of 40, who are African-descent, or who have a BRACA1 mutation.

“Patients with triple-negative primary breast cancer (TNBC) who have residual invasive carcinoma after neoadjuvant chemotherapy have poor prognosis.” - study quote

The study was offered to 53 patients from August 2012 to January 2019. In the study, patients received six treatment cycles of chemotherapy and 12 applications of regional hyperthermia using the BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia System.

Link to article abstract here. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/507473

The University of Maryland Medical Center offers a new Trilogy of Radiation Oncology program at their downtown Baltimore facility.  The cancer center, first in the world to provide proton therapy and hyperthermia under one roof, offers the best in cancer treatment technologies to patients. With the addition of the Gammapod treatment system for early-stage breast cancer, the UMMC maintains it's standing as a leader in patient care.

Pyrexar Medical is privileged to have its BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia System and BSD-500 Superficial/Interstitial Hyperthermia System in the hands of these medical pioneers. Many advancements and best practices have come from the pioneering work of the Translational Radiation Science Team at the university.

UPDATE: The ESTRO and WCB conference dates have been pushed back as a precaution to travel-related health risks in neighboring European countries. 

World Congress of Brachytherapy 2020 and the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology ESTRO 2020, will be held at the Reed Meese Congress Center, Vienna, Austria this year,  April 2-4, 2020July 31st to August 4th.  Together they provide a broad spectrum of lectures, exhibits, and information on the state of radiotherapy treatment.   Pyrexar will be represented in both events by Sennewald Medizintechnik GmbH.  


UCSF-Predicting Benefit from Advanced Radiation Technologies

On March 27th-29th, the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, will offer a CME Course titled "Predicting Benefit from Advanced Radiation Technologies."  The 3-day event will cover a vast array of radiotherapy topics, including two presentations on hyperthermia's role in radiation oncology.  Pyrexar is supporting this event with a sponsorship.  - UCSF Event Registration Link

German Cancer Congress

The German Cancer Congress (DKK / Deutscher Krebskongress) is the largest and oldest congress covering cancer diagnostics and therapy in German-speaking countries. The 34th annual congress will take place from February 19th - 22nd, 2020, at the CityCube in Berlin. Thermal oncology experts, Dr. Sennewald Medizintechnik, will be exhibiting Pyrexar's hyperthermia system solutions in booth D1.5 in hall B.

If you are planning on attending, please make a note to attend Hyperthermia Interdisciplinary Working Group (IAH) session titled: Hyperthermia - Indications and Combinations, on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020.

CHAIRS: Daniel Zips MD, UMC Tubingen, Germany
Felix Krummradt, UMC Heidelberg, Germany
Peter Wust MD
UMC Charité Berlin
"Current state of technology and relevant studies."
Oliver Ott MD
UMC Erlangen
"Neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy with regional hyperthermia in rectal cancer (HyRec phase II study)"
Cihan Gani MD
UMC Tubingen
"Hyperthermia as part of organ-preserving therapy concepts for rectal cancer."
Rolf Isssels MD
UMC Munich Grosshadern
"Interim analysis of the HEAT phase III study on adjuvant therapy for pancreatic cancer."
Udo Gaipl PhD
UMC Erlangen
"Hyperthermia and immune response."

A complete schedule of events is available on the organization's website.

Pyrexar Medical is a proud sponsor of the Eleventh Biennial Conference of the IAHOM ( Indian Association of Hyperthermic Oncology and Medicine) held in Mumbai on 15th & 16th February 2020. The meeting is co-sponsored by the Society for Cancer Research and Communication and Nanavati Multispeciality Hospital.

Nanavati Hospital Vile Parle Mumbai

Topics at the conference include

    • Immunology relevant to Hyperthermia
    • Nanotechnology
    • Economics of setting up Hyperthermia Center in Emerging Economies
    • Hyperthermia from India HIPEC and HIFU
    • Innovations in Technology

 You may recognize several of the hyperthermia luminaries scheduled to speak which include, Dr. Zeljko Vujaskovic of the University of Maryland Medical Center, Dr. Jacoba van der Zee, Dr. Gerard van Rhoon, and Dr. Hans Creeze of Erasmus MC, The Netherlands, 

Indian association of hyperthermic oncology and medicinenanvati logo .Society of Cancer Research and Communication

A special thanks to Dr. Nagraj G. Hiulgol and Dr. Jugna Bhattacharya for their work in bringing hyperthermia awareness and education to India.

 Link to the conference brochure download.

 

Our friends at Thermosome continue to move their drug targeting platform forward. In a recent video, (shown below) they describe the development of their drug targeting system using focal heat as the release trigger.


BSD-2000 3D/MR makes an appearance at 01:03

Thermosome has developed a drug release system that targets the tumor with a 10 to 15 times higher local drug concentration over standard delivery. They do this by micro-encapsulating approved chemo drugs with a shell of thermosensitive liposomes (TSL). The TSL encapsulated drug is circulated via IV to the patient during the thermal therapy treatment, only releasing it when the surrounding environment reaches 42˚C, which is 5˚C higher than average body temperature.  

thermosome video

Deep Regional Hyperthermia plays an important role by creating the necessary 42˚C microenvironment around the tumor. Combining Thermosome with the BSD-2000 3D/MR provides stable temperatures in a defined focal region.  Additional patient benefit is derived from the positive thermal effects of increased blood flow and perfusion at the tumor site, the immune modulation generated by heating, and the increased concentration of chemotherapeutics.  The visual aspect of the MRI guidance (3D heat zone mapping) offers operator assurance that the tumor area is entirely at the target temperature when the drug is administered. 

Thermosome is actively looking for partners, learn more about at http://www.thermosome.com/

Hanoi High Tech and Digestive Center at the St. Paul Hospital in Vietnam launches its thermal oncology program with the assistance of Dr. Mark Hurwitz. In the photo above, Dr. Hurwitz is explaining the functions of the thermal mapping probe of the newly installed BSD-2000 3D deep regional hyperthermia system.

High Tech Digestive Center Hanoi Vietnam

Saint Paul General Hospital opened the Digestive Center in 2017, specializing in endoscopic surgery and the treatment of digestive disease including stomach and pelvic cancers. Built following European standards, it is the country’s leading endoscopic surgery facility.

Oncology team at High Tech Digestive Center, St. Paul Hospital, Vietnam

Dr. Hurwitz was invited to lecture on hyperthermia best practices and share his vast knowledge and experiences in the field of thermal oncology and its role in cancer treatment.

Thermal oncology training High Tech Digestive Center, St. Paul Hospital, Vietnam

Dr. Hurwitz is a globally known thermal oncologist and radiation oncologist. He is currently Vice-Chair for Quality, Safety & Performance Excellence, and Director of Thermal Oncology, Department of Radiation Oncology, at Jefferson Health, Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

Control center of a BSD-2000 3D system at High Tech Digestive Center, St. Paul Hospital, Vietnam

Often a featured lecturer at conferences throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia, his hands-on clinical knowledge of both deep regional and superficial thermal therapy prepares new sites, like St. Paul, to become leaders in this cancer treatment technology.

A special thanks to Pyrexar Medical Vietnam distributor Thai Thinh Medical for sponsoring this event. 

The University Hospital Campus Bio-Medico Rome announced the opening of its new thermal oncology unit with the acquisition of two new Linacs and two new hyperthermia treatment systems.  The hospital chose the Pyrexar BSD-500 Superficial/Interstitial System and a BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia System to improve cancer treatment. In an article published in the Corriere Della Sera, the hospital shared the following reasons for investing in hyperthermia, a vital cancer treatment technology.

  • tumor oxygenation
  • inhibition of DNA repair
  • anti-tumor immune response
  • enhanced efficacy
  • low toxicity
  • painless and non-invasive

biomedico italy 2000 2a

A special thanks to our distributor, Tema Sinergie, for their excellent representation and continuing efforts in expanding hyperthermia throughout Italy.

Pyrexar Medical exhibited at the PTCOG-NA (Particle Therapy Cooperative Group - North America) held at the Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida. 

PTCOG NA crowd

The conference organizers invited Dr. Zeljko Vujaskovic, Director of the Division of Translational Radiation Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, to be a featured speaker at the event.  Dr. Vujaskovic presented "Hyperthermia and Protons: Is This the Safe Way to Get the 'Carbon Effect'?" which included some clinical results from the dual therapy. Dr. Vujaskovic and his team at the UMMC have been treating patients with combined hyperthermia and proton beam since the center opened in 2015. The hospital treats patients with the BSD-500 Superficial/Interstitial and the BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia System along with protons with great success. His colleague, Dr. J.D. Snider, presented "Concurrent Pencil Beam Scanning Proton Therapy and Hyperthermia: Growing Experience with Promising Results."

PTCOG NA booth all(L to R) Dr. Gerhard Sennewald, Dr. Sennewald Medizintechnik; Mark Falkowski, CEO and Mark Kidd, VP Sales and Business Development; Pyrexar Medical

Adding hyperthermia to proton therapy is not new. A BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia System located at Kantonsspital Aarau, Switzerland, has established protocols for the combined treatment with excellent outcomes. But the hyperthermia suite and the proton center are a 30-minute drive apart.  Therapeutic results can undoubtedly be achieved within the dual therapies recommended target window, but for obvious reasons, this can be a deterrent in best practice and clinical testing. Now with the world's first proton therapy and hyperthermia in the same center (See Hyperthermia + Proton Beam, Now in the US), there are more significant opportunities for clinical research.

There have been a lot of firsts at the Maryland Proton Center. First Proton Center in the region; First center to offer both Hyperthermia + Protons at the same facility, and now they are experiencing another First by treating their 2000th patient!

 

In their press release, the University states that "just three years after opening its doors, the Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) has reached a major milestone by treating its 2,000th patient. MPTC is the first proton treatment center to open in the District/Maryland/Virginia region. It is also the only treatment center in the world that offers both proton and thermal therapies in one facility". See the complete press release.

A key figure in the success of the thermal oncology department, Dr. Zeljko Vujaskovic, not only advocates for patients under his care; but continues to share his knowledge, research, and advancements in thermal oncology as he travels the globe as a featured speaker at medical conferences. For Pyrexar Medical, it is a privilege to be associated with such a distinguished group of professionals, researchers, and practitioners of thermal oncology.

Take a Virtual Tour of the BSD-2000

Take a virtual visit to the Thermal Oncology department at the University of Maryland and the BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia System. [Note: Hold down the mouse key to move the camera, click to move around the room and use the mouse wheel to zoom

Last week we attended the CME accredited educational program offered by the University of Maryland, School of Thermal Oncology held at the Maryland Proton Center.

  • UMMC hyperthermia training
    University of Maryland Thermal Oncology School CME course
    held at the Maryland Proton Center in Baltimore, MD
  • Thermal oncology training team
    The educational team included (left to right) JW Snider, MD; Paul Stauffer;
    Dario Rodrigues, PhD; Jason Molitoris, MD, PhD; Mariana Guerrero,PhD; John Hayes,MD;
    and Zeljko Vujaskovic, MD, Phd
  • Participants from the U.S., Poland, South Korea and key hospitals in the
    U.S. attended the 2-day lecture and workshop
  • Professor Stauffer, from Thomas Jefferson University, discusses Treatment Planning
    and Execution
  • Dr. Rodrigues demonstrates temperature probe placement in a phantom on the BSD-2000
  • BSD-500 Superficial Hyperthermia at University of Maryland
    Dr. Guerrero (UMMC) with Mr. Stauffer (Thomas Jefferson) demonstrate the operation
    of the BSD-500 Superficial/Interstitial Hyperthermia system.
  • Participants discuss the operation of the BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia System
  • The thermal oncology staff at the University of Maryland use lasers for
    reliable, repeatable patient positioning
  • Doctors' Biswal and Rodriques discuss operational safety and RF field management
  • Using a phantom to simulate temperature management on the BSD-500
  • South Korean delegation at the Maryland Proton Center

The course drew an international crowd, including physicians from South Korea, Poland, and Japan, as well as prominent cancer centers here in the U.S. From the feedback we received, and this was a five-star educational program, valuable to any member of a thermal oncology team.  Topics covered all aspects of practice management, patient treatment, physics, and workflow. Practice managers shared how adding thermal oncology to their services increased overall service revenue by over 19%.  This information is essential for centers that would like to add hyperthermia systems but require cost justification to receive purchase approval.

Based on the higher than expected turnout and the response from the participants, we hope this to be offered again in 2020.

Pyrexar Medical continues to support educational outreach from organizations like the University of Maryland, Society of Thermal Medicine, European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology, and similar institutions who strive to move forward hyperthermia research in the treatment of cancer. The CME course outline can be found here.