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According to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. 94% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within five years of diagnosis – only 6% will survive more than five years.

As you may know, June 23rd is National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day. In preparation, I contacted Dr. Curt Heese from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia and asked to tell us his experience treating this disease.

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Just published, a clinical review of  38 studies comparing clinical outcomes with and without hyperthermia. Spoiler Alert, chances of a complete response (no more cancer) is increased by and average of 35% when hyperthermia was added to the treatment protocol.  The studies compared included cancers of the breast, cervix, head/neck, rectum, bladder, oesophagus, lung, plus superficial tumors, and melanoma. The full abstract is printed below with links to the complete published report.

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Abstract

Hyperthermia, one of the oldest forms of cancer treatment involves selective heating of tumor tissues to temperatures ranging between 39 and 45°C. Recent developments based on the thermoradiobiological rationale of hyperthermia indicate it to be a potent radio- and chemosensitizer. This has been further corroborated through positive clinical outcomes in various tumor sites using thermoradiotherapy or thermoradiochemotherapy approaches. Moreover, being devoid of any additional significant toxicity, hyperthermia has been safely used with low or moderate doses of reirradiation for retreatment of previously treated and recurrent tumors, resulting in significant tumor regression. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies also indicate a unique immunomodulating prospect of hyperthermia, especially when combined with radiotherapy. In addition, the technological advances over the last decade both in hardware and software have led to potent and even safer loco-regional hyperthermia treatment delivery, thermal treatment planning, thermal dose monitoring through noninvasive thermometry and online adaptive temperature modulation. The review summarizes the outcomes from various clinical studies (both randomized and nonrandomized) where hyperthermia is used as a thermal sensitizer of radiotherapy and-/or chemotherapy in various solid tumors and presents an overview of the progresses in loco-regional hyperthermia. These recent developments, supported by positive clinical outcomes should merit hyperthermia to be incorporated in the therapeutic armamentarium as a safe and an effective addendum to the existing oncological treatment modalities. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

“All over the map” is an American idiom for being off topic or on a tangent. Just the opposite is true for the work we are doing here at Pyrexar Medical. Our map shows a growing number of well respected Universities, Hospitals and Cancer Centers adopting hyperthermia in their cancer treatment program. Clinicians and researcher continue to publish studies demonstrating the benefit of hyperthermia when added to existing treatment protocols.

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Meet Sam Cervantes.  Sam is a radiation therapist RT(t) at the Tacoma Valley Radiation Oncology Center in Western Washington.  The TVROC is regional network of treatment centers made up of five locations around the Puget Sound.  Jackson Hall Medical Center in Tacoma, WA;  St. Joseph Medical Pavilion, also in Tacoma; Dr. Richard C. Ostenson Cancer Center in Puyallup; Jane Thompson Russell Cancer Care Center in Gig Harbor and Capital Medical Center in Olympia.

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Cancer is the leading cause of death in urban China, according to the World Health Organizations GLOBALCAN study. Lung, stomach, liver, esophageal and colorectal cancers make up the second largest cause of death in the country overall. With a population approaching 1.4 billion, you can see how important it is to find successful therapies to treat this disease.

To address cancer treatment in China, our CTO and chief Scientist, Paul Turner, was invited to speak at a conference held at the Dailan #2 Hospital in the Liaoning province of China. Paul, made the trip last week to participate in the discussion.

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Deep tissue hyperthermia uses heat with radiation therapy or chemotherapy to treat pelvic or abdominal region tumors.

For example, when used on some cervical cancer patients who aren’t able to receive chemotherapy, deep tissue hyperthermia combined with radiation therapy may be a promising treatment option.

Prior to this procedure, a CT scan is performed to locate the tumor. During the deep tissue hyperthermia treatment, temperature probes are placed both externally and internally to accurately monitor temperatures during the treatment.

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Typically, when treating cancerous tumors, a patient may receive radiation therapy or chemotherapy. While these treatments can be beneficial in some cases, an innovative technology called Hyperthermia, may be used in conjunction with these therapies to increase their effectiveness.

Hyperthermia is used to damage and kill cancer cells. It may also make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs, potentially reducing the number of radiation treatments needed. There are also minimal side-effects.

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The 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Thermal Medicine (STM) concluded last week. The event was held at the happiest place on earth, on the edges of the Disney World resort complex in Orlando, Florida. An apropos locations as temperatures were well into the 90’s, for you thermal scientists around 35˚C, just shy of the hyperthermia therapeutic range.

The annual event attracts clinicians and researchers with exceptional guest speakers and abstracts presented by colleagues. One of those abstracts, “Integration of Deep Hyperthermia with MR Imaging” presented by our own Paul Turner, CTO at Pyrexar Medical. From what I witnessed, this group is made up of dedicated, passionate professionals who care deeply about treating cancer. Even our after hours get-togethers were filled with lively debates on the best uses of thermal therapy. Many conversations requiring a PhD, MD and whiteboard to sufficiently follow.

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It is move-in week here at Pyrexar Medical in Salt Lake City, UT. The cubicles are up and the electricians and network specialists are busy re-wiring so we can get down to business. Downstairs , manufacturing is getting reconfigured to handle our upcoming workload and everyone is pitching in.

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Hyperthermia improves Clinical Outcome

Randomized clinical trials (RCT’s) have been shown significant improvement in clinical outcome when hyperthermia was added to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. In 2004 experts in clinical hyperthermia held a consensus meeting (Kadota Fund International Forum 2004) about the evidence of the published clinical results of the RCT’s. Level 1 evidence was found for bladder cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, cancer of the esophagus, lymph nodes of head and neck tumors, rectum cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, malignant melanoma, glioblastoma multiform, and various superficial cancers.

Meanwhile more RCT’s have been published (e. g. for chest wall recurrences of breast cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, pediatric germ cell tumors). These RCT’s are also classified as level 1 evidence and have been collected up to 2013.
Reference:
Van der Zee et al. The Kadota Fund International Forum 2004 – Clinical group consensus. Int J Hyperthermia. 2008 March;24(2):111-122
* Pediatric cancer statistics from non-randomized study.


Amy Oshier of Lee Memorial Health Systems reports on Hyperthermia Treatment.

Researchers have known it for years. Cancerous tumors don’t like extreme temperatures. Now they’re turning the premise into practice. By putting the heat on tumors. “Heat can kill cancer cells. When it’s given in combination with radiation and even chemotherapy it’s more effective,” says Dr. Alan Brown, radiation oncologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

Using a technique called hyperthermia, doctors are heating superficial tumors prior to delivering radiation. This system is FDA approved to treat recurrent cancers, including breast and basil or squamous cell skin cancers.

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Dr. Curt Heese, radiation oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, explains how exposing a tumor to high temperatures enhances the effects of radiation and, in some cases, chemotherapy.

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