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.
Q: Can hyperthermia play a role in the treatment of pancreatic cancer? A: Certainly pancreatic cancer can be very difficult to treat, and having hyperthermia as a way to potentially improve, while not significantly increasing side effects, is a great advantage for patients.
Q: I know you are using hyperthermia at CTCA, what has been your experience? A: We’ve been seeing some wonderful responses to the therapy, but one case does stand out. A patient with locally advanced pancreatic cancer was receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy in preparation for surgery, and deep tissue hyperthermia was being given immediately prior to each chemotherapy session in the hopes of helping achieve a stronger response, thereby increasing resectability.
Q: So your goal is a course of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before attempting to remove it surgically. And hyperthermia is added to help shrink the tumor and make the tumor more sensitive to the chemo. What was the result in this case? A: At surgery, they found not just a reduction in tumor burden, but a complete pathologic response with no tumor left when the tissue was examined under microscope. Although we expect size reduction from chemotherapy, chemotherapy alone would not be expected to achieve a complete response. We were thrilled for the patient and it really cemented our belief that hyperthermia can enhance treatment in many types of cancer.
I want to thank Dr. Heese for his comments. I dug into the archives and found an older video clip of Dr. Heese explaining the hyperthermia treatment process. Worth a quick view.
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.
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.
“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.
You can see for yourself by visiting our Treatment Locations page on the website. Zoom into your target location and find out where hyperthermia treatments are being offered in your area. Click the pin and find out a little bit about the facility. With your help, we will continue to add new flags every day. Each pin represents the possibility of a new life saved by the oncology doctors and treatment staff of cancer centers around the world.
Please share our message with your social connections. PYREXAR Hyperthermia, making a difference in Cancer Care.
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.
Sam runs the Hyperthermia equipment in the oncology department. Originally from Florida, she has been living in Washington State for the past three years. She tells us they typically use the PYREXAR BSD-500 Superficial Hyperthermia System to treat Recurrent Chest Wall tumors (breast cancer) and Head & Neck tumors in conjunction with radiotherapy. Typically, each radiation session is accompanied by a 45-minute treatment of hyperthermia. “We bring the treatment area up to our target temperature of 42˚F and hold that temperature. The results are great”.
One system is transported to each of the five treatment centers to share. This makes the system very affordable and increases access to superior care. During our visit we found everyone in the TVROC to be high quality, dedicated professionals who care deeply about their patients health. And did I mention, great results! To learn more about the clinical studies on treating RCW breast cancer and Head & Neck cancers using hypethermia, click the links.
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, along with our CEO Mark Falkowski, made the trip last week to participate in the discussion.
The event attracted clinicians and researchers interested in understanding how hyperthermia can improve outcomes and save lives.
The presentations included:
Deep Hyperthermia with Phased Array Methods and Clinical Application; Paul Turner – Pyrexar Medical
Hyperthermia Combined with Taxol in Malignant Ascites Treatment; Dr. Yingying Huang - Beijing Hospital Oncology Department
Hyperthermia Combined with Chemotherapy in Gastrointestinal Tumors Treatment; Dr. Li Ding - Beijing Hospital Oncology Department
Green Therapy in Oncology-Application of BSD-2000 Annular Phased Array Methods; Qing Zhang - Beijing Chinese Medicine Hospital
As a wrap up to this successful event, our host Orientech invited our small U.S. delegation to a wonderful meal featuring regional favorites. Not only did we leave making many new friends, we also negotiated a purchase agreement for four BSD-2000 Deep Regional Hyperthermia systems with our new distribution partner Orientech.
We hope our entrance into the Chinese market will help reduce the number of cancer fatalities.
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.
Prior to this procedure, a CT scan is performed to precisely locate the tumor area. During Hyperthermia treatment, the affected area is heated superficially by the use of an applicator. The applicator is placed over the patient and may sometimes be filled with water to conform to the patient’s surface anatomy. Microwaves are used to heat the area. The body tissue is exposed to high temperatures (up to approximately 109ºF or 43ºC).
As the heat travels into the body, it dilates blood vessels around the tumor, causing oxygen-carrying red blood cells to spread into the tumor. When the patient is later exposed to radiation treatment, the radiation reacts with the high levels of oxygen in the tumor, killing the tumor cells. This procedure can take up to 1 hour and is performed twice a week for the duration of radiation treatment.
It is recommended to consult your doctor so they can determine the cancer therapy most appropriate for you.
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.
A water-filled applicator bladder (called a bolus) is then placed over the patient’s torso and focused electromagnetic energy (radio frequency energy) is directed at the tumor, exposing the tumor to a temperature of above 104°F or 40°C. The heating effect is monitored and can be turned down if it becomes too hot. It immediately stops when the equipment is turned off.
Deep tissue hyperthermia dilates blood vessels around the tumor, causing oxygen-carrying red blood cells to spread into the tumor.
When the patient is later exposed to radiation treatment, the radiation reacts with the high levels of oxygen in the tumor, potentially destroying the tumor cells. Or if the patient receives chemotherapy after deep tissue hyperthermia, it can increase the flow of blood to the tumor area, potentially bringing more chemotherapy to the tumor.
The deep tissue hyperthermia treatment can take up to two hours and is typically performed twice a week for the duration of the radiation or chemotherapy treatment. When radiation is done prior to the hyperthermia that the hyperthermia inhibits DNA repair from the radiation damage to the tumor cells.
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.
Pyrexar was very proud to represent the BSD-500 and BSD-2000 product lines at the show, as they have become cornerstones of the thermal therapy modality. We felt very welcomed by the group and had the chance to meet some of the clinicians and researchers behind many of the successful clinical trials you can find on our website.
We are very excited for ICHO 2016 (International Congress of Hyperthermic Oncology) currently planned for New Orleans. According to Chris Lapine, Association Manager at Allen Press, next years conference will host not only the Society of Thermal Medicine, but also ESHO – European Society of Hyperthermic Oncology and the JSTM - Japanese Society for Thermal Medicine. This combination event only happens once every four years. 2016 is going to be a great event.
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.
The pace has been fast. Mark Falkowski, CEO and Rex Harmon, VP Sales, started an eastern seaboard road trip yesterday to meet with university and hyperthermia luminaries. They will end up next week at the STM - Society for Thermal Medicine annual event in Orlando, FL. Pyrexar is a sponsor of the event and our own Paul Turner; CTO will be presenting “Integration of deep hyperthermia with MR Imaging” during the Thermal Modeling and Devices Symposium.
We have a lot to share. There are so many great stories and successes in hyperthermia. Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter so we can get the word out about this truly valuable and life changing technology.
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.
“Because of the previous radiation, we’re somewhat limited of the amount of radiation we can give again. So this would be a particular use in those patients,” says Dr. Brown.
The technology allows doctors to control and deliver heat directly to the affected area. A liquid-filled bladder is placed against the skin.
How does it feel for the patient?
“So it’s almost the temperature of a hot tub. We’ve tried to get the temperature to 108 degrees and we want it in contact with the tumor from anywhere to 30 minutes to an hour,” says Dr. Brown.
Hyperthermia makes the body more sensitive to radiation, so it can be administered at lower doses and still be effective. Within an hour after getting the heat application, the patient undergoes radiation.
“What it does is make the radiation more effective by increasing the blood flow to the tumor, you have more oxygen there. And the oxygen interacts with the radiation and creates free radicals and free radicals actually attach to the DNA cancer cells and break the DNA in half. By doing that cancer cells can’t divide, they can’t grow and they die,” says Dr. Brown.
Hyperthermia therapy is a hot topic in cancer treatment. While not curative, it is giving patients with limited options, a new way to keep their disease in check.
Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.