Hyperthermia Blog

News and Opinions About Our Industry

Cancer is the leading cause of death in urban China, according to the World Health Organization GLOBALCAN study. Lung, stomach, liver, esophageal, and colorectal cancers make up the second largest cause of death in the country overall. With a population approaching 1.4 billion, you can see how important it is to find successful therapies to treat this disease.

To address cancer treatment in China, our CTO and Chief Scientist, Paul Turner, was invited to speak at a conference held at the Dailan #2 Hospital in the Liaoning province of China. Paul, along with our CEO Mark Falkowski, made the trip last week to participate in the discussion.

The event attracted clinicians and researchers interested in understanding how hyperthermia can improve outcomes and save lives.

The presentations included:

  • Deep Hyperthermia with Phased Array Methods and Clinical Application; Paul Turner – Pyrexar Medical
  • Hyperthermia Combined with Taxol in Malignant Ascites Treatment; Dr. Yingying Huang - Beijing Hospital Oncology Department
  • Hyperthermia Combined with Chemotherapy in Gastrointestinal Tumors Treatment; Dr. Li Ding - Beijing Hospital Oncology Department
  • Green Therapy in Oncology-Application of BSD-2000 Annular Phased Array Methods; Qing Zhang - Beijing Chinese Medicine Hospital

As a wrap up to this auspicious event, our host Orientech invited our small U.S. delegation to a beautiful meal featuring regional favorites. Not only did we leave making many new friends, but we also negotiated a purchase agreement for four BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia systems with our new distribution partner Orientech.

orientech group

We hope our entrance into the Chinese market will help reduce the number of cancer fatalities.

Typically, when treating cancerous tumors, a patient may receive radiation therapy or chemotherapy. While these treatments can be beneficial in some cases, an innovative technology called Hyperthermia may be used in conjunction with these therapies to increase their effectiveness.

Hyperthermia is used to damage and kill cancer cells. It may also make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs, potentially reducing the number of radiation treatments needed. There are also minimal side-effects.

Before this procedure, a CT scan is performed to precisely locate the tumor area. During Hyperthermia treatment, the affected area is heated superficially by the use of an applicator. The applicator is placed over the patient and may sometimes be filled with water to conform to the patient’s surface anatomy. Microwaves are used to heat the area. The body tissue is exposed to high temperatures (up to approximately 109ºF or 43ºC).

As the heat travels into the body, it dilates blood vessels around the tumor, causing oxygen-carrying red blood cells to spread into the tumor. When the patient is later exposed to radiation treatment, the radiation reacts with the high levels of oxygen in the tumor, killing the tumor cells. This procedure can take up to 1 hour and is performed twice a week for the duration of radiation treatment.

It is recommended to consult your doctor so they can determine the cancer therapy most appropriate for you.

Deep tissue hyperthermia uses heat with radiation therapy or chemotherapy to treat pelvic or abdominal region tumors.

For example, when used on some cervical cancer patients who aren’t able to receive chemotherapy, deep tissue hyperthermia combined with radiation therapy may be a promising treatment option.

Before this procedure, a CT scan is performed to locate the tumor. During the deep tissue hyperthermia treatment, temperature probes are placed both externally and internally to accurately monitor temperatures during the procedure.

A water-filled applicator bladder (called a bolus) is then placed over the patient’s torso, and focused electromagnetic energy (radiofrequency energy) is directed at the tumor, exposing the tumor to a temperature of above 104°F or 40°C. The heating effect is monitored and can be turned down if it becomes too hot. It immediately stops when the equipment is turned off.

Deep tissue hyperthermia dilates blood vessels around the tumor, causing oxygen-carrying red blood cells to spread into the tumor.

When the patient is later exposed to radiation treatment, the radiation reacts with the high levels of oxygen in the tumor, potentially destroying the tumor cells. Or, if the patient receives chemotherapy after deep tissue hyperthermia, it can increase the flow of blood to the tumor area, potentially bringing more chemotherapy to the tumor.

The deep tissue hyperthermia treatment can take up to two hours and is typically performed twice a week for the duration of the radiation or chemotherapy treatment. When radiation is done prior to the hyperthermia that the hyperthermia inhibits DNA repair from the radiation damage to the tumor cells.


The 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Thermal Medicine (STM) concluded last week. The event was held at the happiest place on earth, on the edges of the Disney World resort complex in Orlando, Florida. Apropos locations as temperatures were well into the ’90s, for you thermal scientists around 35˚C, just shy of the hyperthermia therapeutic range.

The annual event attracts clinicians and researchers with exceptional guest speakers and abstracts presented by colleagues. One of those abstracts, “Integration of Deep Hyperthermia with MR Imaging,” presented by our own Paul Turner, CTO at Pyrexar Medical. From what I witnessed, this group is made up of dedicated, passionate professionals who care deeply about treating cancer. Even our after-hours, get-togethers were filled with lively debates on the best uses of thermal therapy — many conversations requiring a Ph.D., MD, and whiteboard to sufficiently follow.

Pyrexar was very proud to represent the BSD-500 and BSD-2000 product lines at the show, as they have become cornerstones of the thermal therapy modality. We felt very welcomed by the group and had the chance to meet some of the clinicians and researchers behind many of the successful clinical trials you can find on our website.

We are very excited for ICHO 2016 (International Congress of Hyperthermic Oncology) currently planned for New Orleans. According to Chris Lapine, Association Manager at Allen Press, next year's conference will host not only the Society of Thermal Medicine but also ESHO – European Society of Hyperthermic Oncology and the JSTM - Japanese Society for Thermal Medicine. This combination event only happens once every four years. 2016 is going to be a great event.

To learn more about STM visit their website www.thermaltherapy.org

It is move-in week here at Pyrexar Medical in Salt Lake City, UT. The cubicles are up, and the electricians and network specialists are busy re-wiring so we can get down to business. Downstairs, manufacturing is getting reconfigured to handle our upcoming workload, and everyone is pitching in.

The pace has been fast. Mark Falkowski, CEO and Rex Harmon, VP Sales, started an eastern seaboard road trip yesterday to meet with university and hyperthermia luminaries. They will end up next week at the STM - Society for Thermal Medicine annual event in Orlando, FL. Pyrexar is a sponsor of the event and our own Paul Turner; CTO will be presenting “Integration of deep hyperthermia with MR Imaging” during the Thermal Modeling and Devices Symposium.

We have a lot to share. There are so many great stories and successes in hyperthermia. Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter so we can get the word out about this truly valuable and life-changing technology.


Amy Oshier of Lee Memorial Health Systems reports on Hyperthermia Treatment.

Researchers have known it for years. Cancerous tumors don’t like extreme temperatures. Now they’re turning the premise into practice by putting the heat on tumors. “Heat can kill cancer cells. When it’s given in combination with radiation and even chemotherapy, it’s more effective,” says Dr. Alan Brown, radiation oncologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

Using a technique called hyperthermia, doctors are heating superficial tumors before delivering radiation. This system is FDA approved to treat recurrent cancers, including breast and basil or squamous cell skin cancers.

“Because of the previous radiation, we’re somewhat limited to the amount of radiation we can give again. So this would be a particular use in those patients,” says Dr. Brown.

The technology allows doctors to control and deliver heat directly to the affected area. A liquid-filled bladder is placed against the skin.

How does it feel for the patient?

“So it’s almost the temperature of a hot tub. We’ve tried to get the temperature to 108 degrees, and we want it in contact with the tumor from anywhere to 30 minutes to an hour,” says Dr. Brown.

Hyperthermia makes the body more sensitive to radiation, so it can be administered at lower doses and still be effective. Within an hour after getting the heat application, the patient undergoes radiation.

“What it does is make the radiation more effective by increasing the blood flow to the tumor, you have more oxygen there. And the oxygen interacts with the radiation and creates free radicals, and free radicals attach to the DNA cancer cells and break the DNA in half. By doing that, cancer cells can’t divide, they can’t grow, and they die,” says Dr. Brown.

Hyperthermia therapy is a hot topic in cancer treatment. While not curative, it is giving patients with limited options, a new way to keep their disease in check.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL, is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation, and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic-assisted surgeries.


Dr. Curt Heese, radiation oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, explains how exposing a tumor to high temperatures enhances the effects of radiation and, in some cases, chemotherapy.

Visit cancercenter.com to learn more about how hyperthermia is used as a treatment option for cancer patients.