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Hyperthermia for cancer: warming up.

Hyperthermia for cancer: Warming up

Hippocrates said, "Give me the power to produce fever and I will cure all disease.' Cancer specialists have been trying to figure out how to wipe out cancer with heat (SN: 8/30/80, p. 141), using methods ranging from a single electrode that heats a tumor via radiofrequency to warming the patient's blood or immersing the patient in hot water or wax.

H. Ian Robins of the University of Wisconsin in Madison has been using a modified food-warming oven to radiantly heat patients. He's raised the body temperatures of 30 patients with various forms of cancer 160 times to 41.8|C (107.4|F) for up to three hours. An initial safety trial on 12 patients showed the process is safe for cancer victims with healthy hearts; some of the patients even benefited from the procedure. "This opens the door for combined studies of hyperthermia with radiation, chemotherapy or interferon,' he says. In a more recent efficacy trial, four patients with nodular lymphoma showed a positive response to a combination of irradiation and the whole-body warming technique.

In the procedure, patients are wrapped in blankets and put into the heating devices for about an hour; they remain warm for two hours after that.

The advantage of whole-body hyperthermia, says Robins, is that it gets at disseminated cancer. The process also boosts the beneficial effects of both chemotherapy and radiation, he says.
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Author:Silberner, Joanne
Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 20, 1985
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