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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.