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Hyperthermia and cancer
Hyperthermia as an alternative cancer treatment?

Hyperthermia is the use of heat as a treatment for cancer. It may be used as either

          1. an all-over-body treatment, or
          2. a localised treatment where it may also be called Ablation, or Ablatherm.

The rationale for hyperthermia as an alternative cancer treatment is that heat is known to be one of the few things that can actually kill a cancer cell. At the right temperature, no harm is done to surrounding healthy tissue.

Coley´s Toxins and hyperthermia

Total body hyperthermia as a concept is far from new. Early studies at Sloan Kettering noted that some cancer patients went into remission when they developed a fever; this led to the  controlled use of dead bacteria (Coley´s Toxins) where the induced fever was shown to stimulate defences, whilst the heat effect killed the cancer cells.

Nowadays, in the various forms of overall body hyperthermia, heat can be provided in controlled conditions to the whole body, or it may even by caused by foods such as chilli peppers, according to a recent report from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas!!

Localised hyperthermia

We find localised hyperthermia much, much more interesting. Indeed we have been championing it since 2005, despite skeptics and other charities criticising both us and the treatment. We have now been totally vindicated.

Localised ´heat´ can be created by a variety of methods from electrodes to ultrasound, with or without a helping agent.
In this section you can read the background to hyperthermia treatment, in an article entitled ´Some Like it Hot´ (CLICK HERE).

You can also read about the pioneering work of Dr. John Holt in Australia (CLICK HERE). 

Localised hyperthermia and HIFU - ´Immense Potential´ to treat cancer 

There are several, increasingly established ways this is being used:

1. Prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bone cancer and localised hyperthermia

On CANCERactive you have been able to read for more than a decade about HIFU - High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound - which is hyperthermia induced by sound waves. It has been used as an alternative to surgery in the treatment of some kidney cancers and bone cancers,  In 2016 HIFU has seen the results of a major research study (See Here) by the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK, where bones with secondary metastases were ´blasted´ by ultrasound, literally melting all the cancer cells away without harming the healthy cells´. HIFU has now been described by Professor Gail ter Haar at the ICR as a treatment of ´Immense Potential´ for any cancer.

The exciting development is its use by numerous centres (including UCL in London and MD Anderson in America), as an alternative cancer treatment for prostate cancer. Unlike surgery, the side effects are minimal. This work is only just being established in the UK; at CANCERactive, uniquely in the UK amongst cancer charities, we have been championing it and providing research information and detailed briefings since 2003.

The use of localised hyperthermia by clinics in Europe has progressed to a sophisticated level. Klinik St Georg in Germany uses a plastic tube with a small metal bar in the middle. Positioned in the centre of the prostate just two sessions in 5 days kills the tumour. They claim a 100 per cent success rate, but only 75 per cent if the patient has had a biopsy. 

Localised Hyperthermia may be repeated should the cancer ever return.

To read about HIFU CLICK HERE; to read an exclusive interview with Professor Mark Emberton on the use of HIFU as an alternative to prostate cancer surgery CLICK HERE.

Breast cancer and localised hyperthermia

In late 2011 more great news came with a report of three studies from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Over 80 women had been successfully treated using Ablation - this time, a ten minute localised treatment involving the application of electrodes around solid breast cancer tumours, under local anaesthetic. All the women had had no recurrence in the following two years. To find out more CLICK HERE

This work is vitally important, not least because there is a growing body of evidence that old-fashioned surgery can spread cancer. (See ´Can Surgery Spread Cancer?´ by CLICKING HERE.)

Kidney cancer and localised hyperthermia

Localised hyperthermia is already used to treat other cancers in UK hospitals (although not as extensively as its use in America). For example Professor Andy Adam at Guys and St Thomas´ Hospital, who uses it on kidney tumours. The technique is only used when surgery cannot be used, since in wonderful "catch 22" fashion, there are quite large numbers of kidney surgeries and hence data on survival rates, but little knowledge of survival for ablation.

Nanoknife IRE

This technique, rather like the Karolinska´s uses two long needles to get inside the body - to treat inoperable cancers. A current is passed between the needles causing nano holes in the cancer cell membranes. All are destroyed. The ´inoperable cancers´ bit is clearly a ploy. 20 hospitals in the USA are already using the patented treatment - it will not be long before it is used on any defined tumour and is a real alternative to Big Pharma drugs. To read more on the Nanoknife IRE, CLICK HERE.

Private Hyperthermia Clinics

We mention Klinik St Georg above. There are some 60 or more centres across Europe using a form of localised hyperthermia to treat cancers. Of course, skeptics claim they are charlatans, charging high prices for bogus treatment. That flies in the face of reality. German Klinics are highly regulated by the German Health Authorities. Having read the reports from patients coming out of Klinik St George in Germany, I think the only issue is price, and the four people I have talked with recently including one of my best friends (who is now completely clear of his prostate cancer 4 years on) all thought the result delivered on their prostate cancer was excellent value for money. Read Richard´s story of his treatment HERE.

Our Bottom Line

Ablatherm is in its early days, but the work of Professor Emberton with prostate cancer, Andy Adam with kidney cancer and The Karolinska with breast cancer show the true potential of this genuine ´alternative´ cancer therapy.

We are genuinely excited about this area. To my mind (Chris Woollams) this is a non-invasive, quick, potential cure for cancer.

Curiously, the Karolinska findings on breast cancer seem to have disappeared from the public eye on Google Search. One wonders why? And at this point I worry for ´localised hyperthermia´. Despite ten years of research across Europe and in the UK, it is having a hard job getting ´Accepted´. Rigorous Clinical Trials are not the issue - the alternative radiotherapy treatment, the ´Cyberknife´ was ´accepted´ (indeed rushed in) by UK hospitals long before any real proof of claims to be more effective with less side-effects could be assessed. The Nanoknife also has little evidence to support it, other than satisfied customers. 

Ablatherm or localised hyperthermia seems full of potential, the research is gaining ground, but in the UK, cancer patients still find orthodox medicine putting the shutters up. The Nanoknife may just be the straw that breaks the camel´s back, and bring a simple, safe and quick treatment to the masses.

We don´t mind. There´s potential here for an effective, non-invasive cancer cure that will trump all the drugs and radiotherapy. Bring it on.

 At last - the definitive, research-based book on how to build a diet to help beat cancer. Click here to read about it.

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