Local Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia therapy

Local hyperthermia is an innovative form of therapy in which a specific area of tissue is heated. This method shows particularly promising results in the treatment of cancer and chronic pain. With a frequency of 13.56 MHz, the cancerous tissue can be heated more strongly than the surrounding healthy tissue.

Local hyperthermia is also known as regional hyperthermia or local deep hyperthermia.

How does local hyperthermia work?

In local hyperthermia, a special frequency of 13.56 MHz is used to heat the biological tissue. At Alpine BioMedical, we use the Celsius 42 device, which enables precise and deep heating of the affected tissue with two symmetrically arranged applicators and a total output of 600 watts.

During local hyperthermia, the tumour tissue is heated considerably more than the healthy body tissue. This leads to targeted thermal damage to the diseased tissue. The reasons for this are:

  • The waves are focused specifically into the tumor.
  • Tumors have a disordered structure compared to healthy tissue, which leads to a higher ion mobility and dielectric constant (the ability to store electrical energy). This enables higher energy absorption and better polarisation in electric fields, which leads to greater heating of the cancer tissue.
  • Tumor tissue has a primitive blood supply and cannot increase blood flow as effectively as healthy tissue. As a result, the heat in the tumor is not removed well and builds up. This leads to an undersupply of oxygen and nutrients to the tumor cells, which damages the cancer cells and causes them to die.
  • The heat build-up leads to hyperacidity in the tumor, which further accelerates the damage and death of the cancer cells.
  • Cancer cells form heat shock proteins on their surface when heated to 42 °C or higher. These structures are recognised by the immune system, which triggers the destruction of the cancer cells by natural killer cells. Healthy cells only exhibit this property at much higher temperatures.
  • The electromagnetic fields generated during localised hyperthermia disrupt communication between the cancer cells. This blocks signals for cell division and prevents the cancer from growing. Healthy cells are not affected.
  • From a temperature of 44 °C, the neighbouring healthy tissue is also heated. However, no damage occurs as the blood circulation increases and the heat can be effectively dissipated.

These different effects between healthy tissue and cancer explain the high effectiveness against cancer and the good tolerability of this method.

Areas of application for local hyperthermia

Local hyperthermia is used successfully for many types of cancer, including

Patients with chronic pain can also benefit from localised hyperthermia. The targeted application of heat can transform the chronic condition into an acute one and make it accessible to the immune system. The heat also releases the body’s own hormones such as cortisol and cortisone, which alleviate pain and inflammation.

Procedure for local hyperthermia

During localised hyperthermia, you are lying comfortably on the hyperthermia couch. The two applicators are aligned so that they reach the tumor region symmetrically and optimally. The applicators generate therapeutic waves of 13.56 MHz, which radiate through the healthy tissue and the tumor. Higher energy absorption and polarisation occur in the cancerous tissue, which means that the rays are increasingly converted into heat there. The healthy tissue is also heated, but can easily dissipate the heat by dilating the blood vessels, which makes localised hyperthermia very tolerable. An innovative monitoring system controls the process and prevents reddening and burns.

The target temperature in the cancerous tissue is reached quickly, so that the treatment lasts around 60 minutes. As a rule, local hyperthermia is applied in a series of 8 to 12 sessions in order to achieve the best possible damage to the tumor.

The therapy can be effectively combined with other measures, such as whole-body hyperthermia, active fever therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Dr. med. Karsten Ostermann M.A.

Local hyperthermia is a proven effective therapy for various types of cancer and should be embedded in an integrative concept.

Dr. Karsten Ostermann

Further information

Further information intended to give a better overview of the topic.