How Hyperthermia Works

Hyperthermia: The artificial heating of all or part of the body (as in diathermy) for therapeutic purposes (as in oncology treatments)

Over the last 30 years, hyperthermia has greatly improved clinical outcomes and quality of life for many human oncology patients. It uses heat to up-regulate the body to heal naturally. Yet until recently there were significant risks associated with hyperthermia because heating could not be controlled properly on the surface and across the tumor, often causing burns. In addition, the equipment is large, bulky and cost prohibitive to all but the most well funded oncology research centers.

Conventional cytotoxic oncology therapies, including radiation and chemotherapy, in addition to surgery, have been the mainstay of oncology treatment for decades. However, these modalities are effective in only about half of patients.1

Hyperthermia is another treatment option that can be used alone or as part of a  multimodal treatment plan. It creates an unusually high fever in the body triggering the immune system response to fight disease without damage to healthy tissue. With hyperthermia therapy, heat is applied to the tumor to induce apoptosis.2

There are more than 40 clinical studies that demonstrated the BENEFIT OF HYPERTHERMIA.2,3

How Does Hyperthermia for Cancer Work?

Treatment areas are heated to 40-45°C (104-113 °F). This specific temperature range increases targeted blood flow with oxygen by 1500% (at 44°C), weakens malignant cells, and promotes selective heat-induced tumor cell death and elimination through complex biological reactions. It also reduces pain.  These include direct cytotoxic effects, immunostimulation, as well as synergistic effects when used in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.2,4

Hyperthermia Mechanisms of Action (MOA)

Oncology MOA graphic

Hyperthermia and Tumor Selectivity

It has been proven that at a temperature of 44°C, there is an increase of blood flow to the area by 1500%. Healthy cells can dissipate this heat, while malignant cells are more sensitive to very high temperature and will absorb and hold onto the heat. This is because tumor architecture and vasculature supply are more chaotic and immature than in healthy tissue creating adverse tumor micro-environmental conditions that leave the tumor cells more sensitive to hyperthermia.

Malignant cells also exhibit differences in their cell morphology, membrane fluidity, and gene expression.9 Heat increases membrane fluidity and instability of cancer cells, leading to apoptosis directly or indirectly through increased delivery of cytostatic chemotherapy agents. Thus, hyperthermia has direct cytotoxic effects that can lead to an immediate reduction in tumor size.

Hyperthermia and Anti-Tumor Immunity

Hyperthermia has also been proven to minimizes local and distal tumor recurrence by inducing protective anti-tumor immune responses.2,3 Fever range hyperthermia (101.3-104 °F) affects many branches of the innate and adaptive immune system, contributing to long-term tumor growth inhibition.2,4

Clinical Outcomes of Hyperthermia

Evidence for the use of hyperthermia in oncology care continues to grow.2,7 The use of hyperthermia alone has shown improvements in both partial and complete response rates for several malignancies, including squamous cell cancers, adenocarcinomas, and melanomas.8,9 However, hyperthermia has shown most benefit when included in a multimodal treatment approach.

The addition of local hyperthermia during chemotherapy improves drug delivery to tumor cells causing rapid apoptosis. And, hyperthermia combined with radiotherapy improves radiation effects by increasing tissue oxygenation while inhibiting the repair of radiation-induced damage.2

Hyperthermia is well tolerated and reduces pain associated cancer, while substantially shrinking tumor size, improving response rates and enhancing tumor regression through its unique ability to increase anti-tumor immunity, with minimal risk for adverse reactions. Healthy cells are not affected by ThermoWave Molecular Hyperthermia Technology.

Finally, veterinary medicine can provide the benefits of ThermoWave Molecular Hyperthermia Technology at an affordable price and greatly improve clinical outcomes for oncology patients, as well as reduce their pain.

Download additional information:

To find out more about ThermoWave, please complete this form and we’ll get back to you.