The healing effect of fever has been known for centuries. Whole body hyperthermia (WBH) is a state of the art treatment which uses the well known principles of healing fever as therapy. Whole body hyperthermia is performed by whole body radiation with water filtered infrared irradiation using energies up to 2000 watts
Whole body hyperthermia works in 3 ways:
- Fever-induced activation of the immune system
- Thermic damage of tumor tissue
- Making tumor tissue more sensitive against chemotherapy
Depending on the individual disease, the emphasis would be rather on activating the immune system or on damaging of tumor tissue.
Moderate whole body hyperthermia
Moderate whole body hyperthermia is used to stimulate the immune system in particular cases when chemotherapy is not used. The target of body core temperature in moderate whole body hyperthermia is around 39°C (102,2F) just as natural fever.
This treatment in particular is used for types of cancer treatable by modulation of the immune system like chronic hematologic diseases, kidney cell cancer, malignant melanoma. Moderate whole body hyperthermia is also used together with chemotherapy in patients who are not fit enough for extreme whole body hyperthermia.
Moderate whole body hyperthermia is also used as maintenance therapy and to prevent recurrences.
Extreme whole body hyperthermia
Extreme whole body hyperthermia is used particularly in metastatic diseases, which means that the cancer has already spread to different organs.
Extreme whole body hyperthermia uses the principle of fever to stimulate the immune system and however at the same time the principle of heat to damage tumor cells directly and to increase the efficiency of chemotherapy. The target body temperature is 41°C (105,8F).
Extreme whole body hyperthermia can only be tolerated by patients in sedation which means mild general anesthesia.