Cancer cells are also able to hide from the immune system thereby avoiding detection. Fever-range, total-body hyperthermia and local hyperthermia both disrupt this cloaking mechanism.
Whether it is local or total-body hyperthermia, each degree increase in temperature causes cancer cells to undergo greater stress until the lactic acid production has increased to such a degree that the cancer cell is threatened with suffocation. The cancer cells will try to fight off their impending death by putting all their energy into surviving, thus dropping their escape mechanisms. Once cancer cells drop their escape mechanisms, they are more easily detected by dendritic cells which now can better ”see” the “naked” or uncloaked cancer cells. As a result, the dendritic cells are better able to obtain an image of the cancer cells’ “ID”—its profile or antigen.
The electro-hyperthermia equipment used for local hyperthermia causes no risk of burns and can be focused exclusively on any area of the body. Unlike total-body hyperthermia, with this localized technique we can selectively heat tumor cells. This enables us to provide interventions for areas of the body that would normally be difficult to treat such as the lungs, bone, and the head.
In our culture, there is a pervasive fear of fever. Many people see fever as the cause of illness, rather than the body’s natural attempt to heal. At the first sign of a fever, we quickly reach for medications, thinking that if we reduce the fever, the disease will go away.
Ironically, the fear of fever is misplaced. Unless the fever is too high (40.0 °C or above) over weeks at a time, no harm occurs. Fever signals the immune system to mount an increased defence and sets the process of healing in motion. In fact, fever is the natural response of all mammals to infection or illness. Research has made it clear that fever is not the enemy; but the friend of healing.
What is hyperthermia?
Human beings use heat for healing in many ways, for instance a hot water bottle on the tummy for period pains or a microwave-heated wheat-pack on stiff and aching neck muscles. For centuries, humans have benefited from sweating - from Turkish baths to the saunas in modern spas. The Egyptians treated tumours with heat back in 5,000 BC; Parminides, a Greek Physician in 500BC said ´Give me a chance to create a fever, and I will cure any disease'.
Hyperthermia, also called thermal therapy or thermotherapy, is a type of cancer treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperatures (up to 48°C). Research has shown that high temperatures can damage and kill cancer cells. By killing cancer cells and damaging proteins and structures within cells, hyperthermia may shrink tumors.
We use local hyperthermia to shrink tumors by using heat to damage proteins and structures within cancer cells. Local hyperthermia exposes a small area, such as a tumor, to high temperatures. Hyperthermia is mainly used with immunotherapy. Using MRI guidance, we first locate the tumor that will be treated. The tumor is then heated externally, the area may be heated externally with high-frequency energy waves aimed at a tumor from a device outside the body.
During the hyperthermia treatment session, we monitor the temperature of the tumor with MRI guidance and adjust it accordingly.
Local hyperthermia offers a promising treatment option for patients with advanced or recurrent cancer.
Whole body hyperthermia:
Practically all cancer patients have a lower than average core temperature and are unable to develop a fever—thus they are unable to activate their immune system. To reactivate immune function, a controlled fever is induced to artificially heat the body.
Cancer cells are much more sensitive and intolerant of the effects of excessive heat than normal cells, so higher body temperatures would activate the immune system, causing both increased production of interferon alpha, and increased immune surveillance. Tumors normally have an impaired ability to adapt their blood circulation to the effects of high temperatures and thus hyperthermia can cause a reduction of blood flow to a tumor. Research shows that hyperthermia increases ´heat shock´ proteins on the surface of the cancer cells making them more prone to be attacked by the immune system.
Combining total-body hyperthermia with local hyperthermia and Dendritic cells is the most effective non-toxic treatment that a cancer patient can go through.