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July 7, 2005


Topics: Thermoradiotherapy

Hyperthermia, an Emerging Therapy that Heats Malignant Cells, Can Improve Local Tumor Control by Making Radiation More Effective

- via email(article appeared in Suncoast News)
TAMPA, Fla.—June 17, 2005—The New Hope Cancer Center today announced that it is the first in the area to offer the BSD-500, an advanced system that delivers hyperthermia, or heat therapy, to patients with recurrent cancers. Hyperthermia is a non-invasive method of increasing tumor temperature to make radiation therapy more effective in penetrating cancer cells. For patients with a cancer recurrence who have undergone an initial course of radiation, hyperthermia can be quite significant in maximizing the amount of radiation that can be delivered a second time as a second course of radiation is often not viable or must be delivered in a much lower dosage. Hyperthermia increases blood and oxygen circulation within the tumor, thus making a lower dose of radiation more effective.

A recently published study in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Oncology demonstrated striking clinical advantage in the use of hyperthermia, or heat therapy, as an adjuvant (add-on) to radiation therapy for breast cancer patients with post-mastectomy chest wall recurrence. In the study, radiation treatment with hyperthermia resulted in complete disappearance of the tumor in more than two-thirds of chest wall tumor cases. The use of adjuvant hyperthermia also demonstrated a significant improvement in tumor control among patients with recurrent melanoma as well as head and neck and other tumors when compared to stand-alone radiotherapy.

“As a safe and effective therapy, hyperthermia can be given to patients with many different cancers and cancers at various stages of development. Specifically for patients with tumor recurrence, who often feel that they have run out of treatment options, it can help maximize the effectiveness and tolerability of the few treatments currently available to them,” said Gerald Sokol, MD of the New Hope Cancer Center. “At one time it had been difficult to administer proper dosing for hyperthermia treatment. The BSD-500 allows us to precisely administer and monitor the amount of heat locally delivered to the tumor. Our own clinical experience and the results of numerous published studies are highly encouraging in that increased use of hyperthermia will improve the quality of life for cancer patients and improve control of cancer recurrences.”

Hyperthermia kills cells in solid tumors, without damaging normal tissues, because higher temperatures can selectively destroy cells that exhibit certain “tumor-like” characteristics. When used as an adjuvant to radiation or chemotherapy, hyperthermia increases oxygen in the tumor tissue, making radiation therapy more effective. As cancerous tumors grow, their need for blood quickly begins to exceed their blood supply and they can become blood and oxygen starved, and three times more resistant to radiation than normal cells. When a tumor is heated, its blood vessels expand so that more blood and oxygen can flow into the tumor. When used as an adjunct to radiation therapy or chemotherapy, hyperthermia increases the effect of radiation and/or chemotherapy on cancer cells by a factor of two.

The BSD-500 is an FDA-approved technology that delivers hyperthermia using microwave energy for tumors that reside less than 3 cm. from the skin’s surface. It has also been shown to work with chemotherapy as well.

For more information about hyperthermia treatments at New Hope Cancer Center, please contact Dr. Gerald Sokol at 727.868.9208. Additional information is also available at the Society for Thermal Medicine’s Web site at www.thermaltherapy.org, or by contacting BSD Medical at 801-972-5555 or www.bsdmc.com.

Posted by Richard at July 7, 2005 10:27 PM

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