Hyperthermia Blog

News and Opinions About Our Industry

Last week we exhibited at the ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncologist) Annual meeting held in Chicago.  With an estimated crowd of thirty-three thousand, the original message seemed to be dominated by immunotherapy.  Everyone is looking for that trigger that will activate the immune system so the body will kill its cancer.

So why was Pyrexar Medical there? Traditionally as an adjunct to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Hyperthermia has been very useful in shrinking tumors, killing cancer cells, and improving drug delivery.

There is preclinical evidence that heating a cancer tumor initiates a similar immuno-activation response, potentially serving as an adjunct to the immunotherapy drugs in development.  The diagram below demonstrates the immunomodulation induced by hyperthermia.

immunotherapy cell cycle rework final

Preclinical evidence suggests that heating cancer cells cause cell stress and the release of HSP (heat shock proteins).  One of the roles of HSP it to assist the delivery and integration of Antigens, molecules that induce an immune response, to the lymphatic system.  With the information provided by the cancer-specific Antigen, the Lymphatic system then produces cancer-specific Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes ( aka T-Cells) with customized receptors that are capable of identifying, targeting, and killing cancer.  Once the T-cells are programmed, heating has an additional benefit of increasing blood flow, speeding up the delivery of the T-cells to the cancer site.

Immunomodulation would explain the long term survival rates as reported in a Phase III Sarcoma study “Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy alone or with regional hyperthermia for localized high-risk soft-tissue sarcoma: a randomized phase 3 multicenter study” by well-known physician Dr. Rolf Issels.  In this dual armed study, half of the Sarcoma patients received chemotherapy (CT), and the other half received chemotherapy + hyperthermia (CT+HT). Sarcoma patients receiving CT+HT not only had significantly increased tumor response but remained cancer-free more than two times longer than those who received chemotherapy alone.  

Heating boosts radiotherapy; heating boosts chemotherapy; it stands to reason, with all we know, that heating will boost Immunotherapy. Indeed a significant benefit for immunotherapy drug makers. Plus, this additional healing boost comes with very little to no ill effects or discomfort.  Watch this short patient treatment testimonial for pancreatic cancer courtesy of ABC News Good4Utah.com