Cancer Treatment & Heat

Cancer and Heat Therapy (Hyperthermia)

Heat has been used as an effective treatment for malignant, infectious and other diseases since antiquity. In the 19th century, heat therapy , in the form of artificially induced fever, was used by Dr. Coley in New York for the treatment of patients with advanced cancers. The Nobel Prize was awarded in the 1920s for use of malaria as fever therapy in the treatment of syphilis. There is published literature on the disappearance of malignancies, such as sarcoma and Burkitt's lymphoma (Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma), following the development of malignant hyperthermia during anesthesia

Renewed medical interest in hyperthermia, and its extensive use in Europe and Japan, has occurred because of the lasting failure of conventional chemotherapy to treat various forms of cancer and emerging infections, i.e., except for some rare forms of childhood leukemia, testicular cancer, or immune responsive infections, chemotherapy or radiation often do very little except briefly extend survival. Usually, chemotherapy dramatically decreases the quality of life.

Conventional Hyperthermia (Heat Delivery)

Conventional total or partial body heating (external hyperthermia) has been performed by the use of radiant heat, ultra-sound, extra-corporeal heating of the blood, use of pyrogens, hot wax, electromagnetic devices, etc. The rational for such therapy is cancer cells are already hotter than their normal counterparts and therefore reach their heated lethal limit sooner than normal cells. Conventional hyperthermia focuses heating outside the mitochondria (and cell). It is believed heating increases membrane fluidity, cytoplasmic protein denaturation and general disturbance of normal cell functions. Cancer hyperthermia is more widely accepted in the Orient (Japan and China) and Europe (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) than in the United States (although isolated limb heating is accepted in the United States to treat melanoma and sarcoma of an extremity).

If Hyperthermia Is So Effective Why Haven't I Heard About It?

While medical experts agree that heat is effective against cancer, Lyme disease and other conditions, they also concur that conventional methods of heating are inadequate. All conventional methods of hyperthermia induce heat from the "outside-in" (use an external source of energy) and cannot effectively heat deep targets in the body, such as bone marrow, brain, etc., without causing toxic thermal gradients that damage normal tissue.

In order for hyperthermia to be effective, target cells have to be heated to a greater degree than normal cells over a certain period of time (heat dose). Current methods of heating (except for localized invasive heating) are inadequate. Effective heating cannot be accomplished without extensive damage to normal tissue. Conventional hyperthermia is generally only effective as an isolated limb-extracorporeal perfusion or in treatment of small tumors at the skin surface. Effective and safe heat delivery has been the problem in the clinical setting.

What is ICHT (Intracellular Hyperthermia Therapy)?

Intracellular Hyperthermia Therapy (ICHT) is a patent pending, new method of heat delivery. ICHT science is based on heating cells "from the inside-out". This is accomplished by uncoupling a basic biologic process known as oxidative phosphorylation. An uncoupling agent is delivered so as to create a short circuit ("futile cycle") within the inner mitochondrial membrane (mitochondria are intracellular energy producing organelles that make ATP and utilize 95% of all oxygen consumed). This short circuit is created by a biochemical process that shuttles protons back into the mitochondrial matrix and increases heat production at the expense of useful energy (ATP) synthesis. The net result of ICHT therapy is the conversion of mitochondria from efficient "powerhouses" of energy production to "chemical furnaces", heating cells from the "inside out".

The dominant effects of hyperthermia appear to be related to the increase in oxygen free radical formation at the level of the mitochondrion. Increased oxygen free radicals induce a series of lethal biochemical events inside the cell that induces death of the cancer cell through either apoptosis or necrosis. Since ICTH initially heats mitochondria, far less heating is required to get the desired effects. Do to their much higher metabolic rates tumor cells are selectively heated to temperatures far greater than that of normal cells.

ICHT and selective heating of Cancer cells

With ICHT heating cancer cells from the "inside-out", the greatest amount of heat is at the level of the mitochondrion, i.e., inside the cell. Conventional hyperthermia ("outside-in") heats the exterior of the cell first, and only after going through multiple layers of other tissues. Moreover, ICHT heats tumor cells far in excess of their normal counterparts. This selective heating occurs because the amount of heat produced by uncoupling not only depends on the dose of uncoupler, but also on the metabolic rate of targeted tissues or cells.

Aggressive malignancies have much higher metabolic rates (levels of heat production) than their normal counterparts. In fact, the level of histologic grading (undifferentiation, mitotic index, etc.) correlates directly with metabolic activity. Metabolic rates in some tumors have been shown to be 10 to 30 times greater than their normal counterparts. Thus, if normal cells are uncoupled and heat production is increased four-fold (non-lethal), heat production in tumor cells is increased 4 times their existing metabolic rate, i.e., 40 to 120 fold greater (lethal for many tumors). Conventional hyperthermia heats all cells uniformly and thus has a far smaller therapeutic index and target selectivity.

Types of Tumors Treated Using ICHT

Various histologic types of tumors such as adenocarcinoma, melanoma, carcinoma, mesothelioma, sarcoma, lymphoma, glioblastoma, astrocytoma and liposarcomas have been treated in such locations such as the brain, bone, lungs, breast, liver, pancreas, colon, ovaries, prostate and other anatomic sites.

ICTH and Immunity

ICHT can enhance stimulation of the immune system. It is well known that heat induces production of heat shock proteins (e.g., benefits of fever in stimulating immunity). Tumor cells (like infectious agents) respond to ICHT by augmenting their entire repertoire of proteins and increasing the exposure of any possible weak antigens. Immune surveillance is thereby considerably enhanced and tumor cells are much more likely to be targeted for destruction. Chemotherapy and radiation suppress the immune system.

ICHT with Other Therapies

ICHT is effective on its own but it can also be used with other therapies such as chemotherapy, alternative medicines and immune response modifiers. Numerous scientific publications have shown that hyperthermia augments the effects of chemotherapy. Response rates are greatly increased with far smaller doses of chemotherapy. Tumor multidrug resistance (MDR) against cytostatic drugs is often overcome with hyperthermia.

Many oncologists that utilize hyperthermia believe that effective heating overcomes the multi-drug resistance (MDR) of all tumors against chemotherapy. Published data on hyperthermia with chemotherapy shows that heat is additive to the effects of methotrexate, 5-FU, etoposide and vinkaalkoloids; there is a linear increase in cytotoxicity of agents such as carboplatin, cisplatin, mitomycin, and BCNU with heat; and, a synergistic, exponential increase in cytotoxicity of agents such as bleomycin, doxorubicin, epirubicin, adriamycin, cyclophosphamide and isofafamide occur with heat.

ICHT Protocol

Your medical records are thoroughly reviewed by our senior staff to determine eligibility for treatment. Records reviewed include pathology and treatment reports as well as any recent laboratory exams, CT and or PET scans. Special attention is given to cardio-pulmonary function, Karnofsky score, and physiologic status.

Treatment is initiated after a physical exam, baseline lab and X-Ray studies. These tests may include a stress EKG and or a CAT scan of the brain. A standard course of therapy consists of five daily sessions of ICHT followed by two days of rest and five more daily sessions of ICHT followed by two days of rest. The actual duration of therapy each day varies between 3 to 5 hours. The therapy is individualized for each patient. If indicated, other beneficial therapies, both conventional and alternative, may be utilized in conjunction with ICHT.

Intra-arterial catheterization

Many patients have isolated tumors or metastasis. In such cases, careful consideration is given to placement of intra-arterial catheters . By placing intra-arterial catheters, delivery of uncoupler and other drugs (e.g., chemotherapy) is focused on drug delivery by blood supply predominately going to the tumor. Numerous catheters have been placed into the hepatic, mammary, superior mesenteric, carotid, femoral, ovarian, pulmonary and other arteries. Such catheters are placed by a highly skilled team of invasive, interventional radiologists working in an operating room design specifically for this. We have used this method to safely deliver drugs effectively to pancreatic cancers, liver cancers, lung cancers and other malignancies. Intra-arterial catheter drug delivery minimizes systemic side effects.

Transportation and Arrival

Our patient coordinator will meet you, and your family members, at the Malpensa Airport in Italy (outside of Milan). The clinic is a 30-45 minute drive from the airport. We encourage at least one family member or close friend to accompany you. The clinic has double rooms to accommodate you and your companion. More information (including pictures) on the clinic is available on the "Our Clinic" page.


Copyright 2002, Life Extension SA


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