Dr. Douwes, the Medical Director at St. George Hospital, founded the clinic in 1992 together with the Hungarian company Oncotherm, a technical company that develops hyperthermia devices. Since the foundation these divices are used at St. George Hospital and part of its Hyperthermia Center, the largest such center world-wide.
Since that time, oncothermia has become accepted by many oncological practitioners and institutions as a viable and successful treatment option. Presently oncothermia is used in 15 countries around the world, and by more than 180 institutions. More than 100,000 oncothermia treatments are conducted yearly. They have delivered remarkable survival prolongation with good quality of life.
What is Oncothermia or Loco-Regional Hyperthermia treatment?
Heat as treatment modality has been known and practiced for a very long time. Even Hippocrates and the ancient Egyptians used heat therapy to treat aches and pains. We also know that heat can cause considerable damage to living cells; hence the body can only survive for a short time in temperatures in excess of 42° C.
However, the destructive force of heat is also a blessing. Used skillfully, it can very effectively help to treat cancer. Malignant growths can be controlled or may even regress as a result of targeted hyperthermia. LRH is a noninvasive and particularly gentle method of treatment. It is highly effective because, on its own and in combination with traditional medicine and complementary forms of treatment, it is capable of bringing about a distinct improvement in the course of tumor diseases.
For these reasons St. George has integrated hyperthermia in its treatment concept for cancer. For more than twenty years, we have been working diligently to understand the benefits of hyperthermia therapy in the treatment of cancer and in the after-care of cancer patients. The clinical results are often outstanding!
How does Oncothermia work?
In Loco-Regional Hyperthermia (LRH), focused and controlled heat is directed straight to the tissue or organ affected by the tumor. LRH uses capacitive heating, induced by transmitting low frequency radio waves directly to the site of the tumor.
With the region of the body affected by the tumor positioned between two applicators, the organ’s internal temperature is raised to between 42° C to 48° C. This temperature is maintained in the tumor tissue for 60 minutes, which triggers multiple biological effects:
- It impairs blood flow in the tumor resulting in inadequate heat dissipation, starving tumor cells of oxygen and nutrients, prohibiting tumor metabolic cell division, maintenance and repair. P53 gene, which drives cancer cells to suicide, is activated by hyperthermia.
- It causes cancer cells to form characteristic heat shock proteins on their surface, unlike healthy tissue.
- These heat shock proteins activate the body’s own natural killer cells to attack the tumor cells. Hence, hyperthermia works not only by heat destruction, inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis, but also by stimulating the immune system response.
Can LRH be combined with other forms of treatment?
LRH has proven to be complementary to other treatments. In fact, it enhances the beneficial effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Even a tumor which was resistant to chemo and radiation therapy initially, can respond again to these therapies following hyperthermia treatment.
Which cancers can be treated by LRH?
LRH treats the following cancers:
- Brain tumors
- ENT tumors (Ear, Nose, Throat)
- Lymph node metastases and local lymphomas
- Breast cancer
- Lung and liver tumors and metastases
- Skin cancer and skin metastases of various primary tumors
- Gastrointestinal cancer like stomach-, colorectal-, pancreas- & liver cancer
- Urogenital cancers (bladder and kidney cancer)
- Gynecologic cancers (Uterus, Ovarian, Cervical)
- Prostate cancer
Are there any adverse side-effects to LRH, and what are they?
Heating the tumor tissue to 42–48° C affects adjacent healthy tissue. Some skin rushes and small burning blisters can occur. However, the body’s natural circulation is extremely efficient and soon dissipates the heat. This is something the tumor is not capable of because of its more primitive blood supply.
For additional information and details on this exciting and effective technology available at St. George Hospital, please feel free to contact us!