Double action Oncothermia destroys cancer cells in tumours

Double action Oncothermia destroys cancer cells in tumours


An overview of Oncothermia in cancer treatment


Oncothermia is a non-invasive cancer therapy designed to deal with primary tumours and metastases by combining two proven cancer therapies, those of Hyperthermia and Electrical Field cancer membrane destruction:


1.    Hyperthermia, which is recognised by the National Cancer Institute as a complementary therapy where the body temperature is increased making cancer cells weaker and more sensitive to increase the uptake and performance of chemotherapy drugs.

2.    Electric field energy absorption, at a controlled dose into the extra-cellular liquid around a tumour, is known to destroy the membrane of cancer cells causing cancer cell death.


The treatment is widely used in German clinics and has also been approved by ‘Health Canada’. Clinics there refer to it as Modulated Electro-Hyperthermia, and use the Oncothermia EHY-2000 device. The National Cancer Institute in America states that 'Hyperthermia is a non-invasive treatment which can help shrink cancer tumours. It is especially helpful as a complementary therapy to chemotherapy and radiotherapy'.


When the oncothermia device is used the treatment may be called Loco-Regional Hyperthermia, or LRHT. The mobile half of the device is placed on top of the tumour area with the fixed part of the device underneath as part of the special bed the patient lies on. A frequency of 13.56 MHz then delivers energy directly to the cancer tumour.


It can be used on its own or in conjunction with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. It can also be used with IPT.


There are phase II and phase III clinical trials using the device to improve chemotherapy results by sensitising the cancer cells, making the device a better way to target chemotherapy. It is highly useful in situations where there are metastases to bones and other organs.


Research has also shown that oncothermia enhances the effects of drugs used to stop blood vessel formation to tumours (angiogenesis); it re-activates tumour suppressor genes, such as p53, silenced in most cancers; and it simulates fever heat production causing a strong immune response.


It can be used with any solid-tumour cancer and is particularly useful with metastases, especially those causing pain. There are numerous clinical references on the treatment (1).


The Quantum Clinic in Lewes, Sussex ( is the first place to use the oncothermia device in the UK.


Oncothermia reduces metastases


Our thanks go to a CANCERactive newsletter reader – a doctor who uses the treatment himself for his own prostate cancer – for bringing this procedure to our attention.. Every few years he uses the treatment to reduce the tumours and metastases in his body. It works.


He wrote, There are many peer reviewed papers on the subject.  It is available in Germany and other European countries and in Canada.  I have stage 4 Prostate Cancer and it has worked for me in that it will destroy metastases albeit temporarily.  I tried to interest my local Commissioning group in it but because the consultant had never heard of it  (where is duty of care in this?) I was turned down,  The machines are cheap, around £250,000 and it is painless and largely side-effect free.  Yes, you have to come back from time to time for more but it works.  If my metastases return, as they will, I will have to pay either in Germany or Canada.  The cost of Oncothermia is far cheaper than the drug I am on at the moment, Abiraterone. And the NHS is always short of money. I wonder why?”


The History of Oncothermia


Whole body Hyperthermia has been championed by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Cancer Center since one of their staff, Dr William Coley back in 1920, noticed patients recovering from cancer when they developed a second illness. He hypothesised that increased immune response and increased temperature were the driving factors, Coley’s Toxins were the result. Dr. Lloyd J. Old, former American Cancer Research Institute Medical Director and associate director of Memorial Sloan Kettering commented, “Those who have scrutinized Coley’s results have little doubt that these bacterial toxins were highly effective in some cases.

Whole body hyperthermia as a way of sensitising cancer cells is a complementary therapy recommended on the MSK website today. 

Electric Field use on cancer cells developed out of an increasing knowledge of membrane science. Membranes around cells have their own electric differential across them, and their own electrical conductivity. The science of ‘surface physics’ and the work of physicist Prof. Dr. Szász in Hungary showed that the differential could be increased and the membranes could be damaged by an electrical field. One current therapy, increasingly being used in the Western world is the Nanoknife IRE, which punches holes in cancer cell membranes by passing a current between two thin metal rod placed either side of the tumour. Indeed, in the early 1990s the first devices that led to Oncothermia did simply pass an electric current across tumours that lay near the surface of the body and even today it is described as a ‘Nanoheating technology’. 

By the mid 90s, the devices had passed the German GS Safety tests; and from 2002 they were used to treat prostate cancer successfully. This was the year in which the German Oncothermia Company was formed. In 2007, new devices were approved and moved into use. This followed the large scale Mammatherm study by Professor Dr. Sommer of the University of Munich.


The Current use of Oncothermia


By 2017 over 400 devices were in use to treat cancer in hospitals worldwide. Although a large number are found in Germany, the devices are found in countries from Canada to China. 100,000 treatments are given per year and almost all cancers from lung to colorectal cancer can be treated.


The treatment can be used on its own, but more often it is used to support radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery and even other treatments such as Photodynamic Therapy. It is very useful for pain relief and increases the immune response in the body.


In particular, it is highly effective in situations where there is metastatic disease.  New research is looking into its use with brain cancer and particularly glioma (GBM).


Oncothermia Treatment


While Hyperthermia, typically, is used to raise the temperature of the body in the range of 40 to 46 degrees, oncothermia is more about energy ‘dose control’. The energy dose of oncothermia aims to maximise the effects of heat-shock proteins (HSPs), induction and regulation of apoptosis, signal transduction and modulation of chemo drug resistance. For example, it actually makes chemo drugs work better by reducing cellular resistance.


The energy supply causes a constant increase in the temperature of the liquid around the cancer cells in a tumour. Because of this constant temperature, an energy gradient develops between the external environment and the internal environment of the cancer cell. Normally the electrolytes differ between outside and in. As the temperature is maintained over time, a slight gradient occurs across the thin membrane, the electrolyte levels change, causing damage to the membranes. The cancer cell is thus destroyed.


The treatment using one of four devices is non-invasive; it is for any stage of cancer and there are no reported side-effects. The procedure can be repeated, and repeated. Oncothermia, the company, give lectures and have a regular magazine, which frequently includes research studies and case histories.


The treatment is fully recognised by the International Clinical Hyperthermia Society. There are Business centres in Boulder in the USA, Canada, Belgium, Germany and Hungary, which sell the devices to Hospitals.





1.     (as at November 2018):


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