Fever kills cancer?

  • Medical
  • Thread starter Andre
  • Start date
  • #1
4,465
72
I did not see an earlier thread about this but it sure looks interesting.

http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_channelstory.cfm?storyid=21587 [Broken]

...he found about a new therapy that could boost his chances

...

C.. is one of the first in the United States to take part in a clinical trial that uses fever to kill pancreatic cancer.

"We are using a temperature that you would get if you had a bad case of the flu," Joan Bull, M.D., an oncologist at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, told Ivanhoe.

...

"The fever is giving a startle, a cry for help to the immune system to say, arm yourself, get out here, do something," Dr. Bull said.

By waking up the immune system, doctors believe less chemo can be more effective. The chemo and the infrared heat increase the body's immunity and help kill cancer cells everywhere.
But what is new? I see a different story elsewhere

The Toxins of William B. Coley and the Treatment of Bone and Soft-Tissue Sarcomas

In 1891, William B. Coley injected streptococcal organisms into a patient with inoperable cancer. He thought that the infection he produced would have the side effect of shrinking the malignant tumor. He was successful, and this was one of the first examples of immunotherapy. Over the next forty years, as head of the Bone Tumor Service at Memorial Hospital in New York, Coley injected more than 1000 cancer patients with bacteria or bacterial products. These products became known as Coley's Toxins. He and other doctors who used them reported excellent results, especially in bone and soft-tissue sarcomas.

Despite his reported good results, Coley's Toxins came under a great deal of criticism because many doctors did not believe his results. This criticism, along with the development of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, caused Coley's Toxins to gradually disappear from use. However, the modern science of immunology has shown that Coley's principles were correct and that some cancers are sensitive to an enhanced immune system... cont'd
That would certainly raise some questions. How could a successful treathment be suppressed simply because it could not be believed despite the result? Why not?

One also might contemplate the two-cent thought that cancer could have become more common now due to the more successfull controlling of diseases with high fever. Thoughts?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Q_Goest
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,974
39
Hi Andre,
That's a fascinating story! Sure sounds like this will be an active area of research in the future from the article you posted.
That would certainly raise some questions. How could a successful treathment be suppressed simply because it could not be believed despite the result? Why not?

One also might contemplate the two-cent thought that cancer could have become more common now due to the more successfull controlling of diseases with high fever. Thoughts?
Seems like that article answers your questions:
Despite Coley's high profile, his work came under criticism because of inconsistencies. First, although Coley described hundreds of favorable responses to his toxins, his patient follow-up was poorly controlled and poorly documented. Second, there were 13 different preparations of the toxins, and some of these were more effective than others. Third, Coley used various methods of administration. Some toxins were given intravenously, others intramuscularly, and some were injected directly into the tumor. Therefore, many doctors who used Coley's Toxin did not get the same good results that he did, and some noticed no effect at all. Some critics went so far as to call him a charlatan. As early as 1894, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) issued a severe criticism of the use of these toxins:
There is no longer much question of the entire failure of the toxin injections, as a cure for sarcomata and malignant growths. During the last six months the alleged remedy has been faithfully tried by many surgeons, but so far not a single well-authenticated case of recovery has been reported.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1888599/#R12"
Despite JAMA's claim, however, some physicians had success with Coley's Toxin. Yet many of those doctors looked askance at Coley because of his personal belief, held long after the idea had been generally dismissed, that cancer was cause by microorganisms. Coley held this belief until the end of his career.
The article seems like an unbiased, objective look at Coley's work and why it was rejected, but the summary says it all.
William Coley's intuitions were correct: Stimulating the immune system may be effective in treating cancer. He was a model of the clinician-scientist, treating patients and using his practice to initiate research and build theories. But he was a man before his time, and he met with severe criticism. Despite this criticism, however, Coley stuck with his ideas, and today we are recognizing their potential value.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #3
5,439
9
There was a doctor, whose name escapes me, towards the end of the 19 cent when cancer was first identified, who treated patients in hot water and wax baths, thus raising their whole body temperatures.

He achieved some reasonable measure of success, but many patients could not stand the treatment.
 
  • #4
alxm
Science Advisor
1,842
9
If you take everything in that article to be true (despite being anecdotal), it still doesn't support any kind of claim to 'fever cures cancer' but rather 'high temperature raises effectiveness of existing cancer treatments'.

And the anecdotes of a few patients would be far from any kind of conclusive evidence to that effect.
 
  • #5
5,439
9
'high temperature raises effectiveness of existing cancer treatments'.
That was also true of the cases I was trying to recall.
In fact there is good basis for the statement since cancerous cells have subsequently been shown to exhibit a different temperature susceptibility curve from 'good' cells.
 
  • #6
1,460
1
There is a method of using a hot chemotherapy "dialysis" of the peritoneum, adn the heat does seem to aid the efficacy of the chemotherapy.
 
  • #7
Monique
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,149
64
It is true that local elevated temperature is already used as an accepted supplement for cancer treatment (although probably not widely practiced). A local raise in temperature is used to increase the flow of blood in the area where a tumor resides. This means that the chemotherapeutic agents can more easily access the tumor and thus the therapy will be more effective. The reverse is also practiced to reduce the side-effect of hair loss during chemotherapy: patients are fitted with a hood that cools their scalp so that the blood-flow is reduced, this means that the chemotherapeutic drugs cannot access the hair follicles during the treatment and hair loss is prevented. This is only possible when the tumor is non-metastatic.

The treatment as proposed by William Coley is different, because the fever is used to trick the body in believing there is an immune response. It is thought that IL-12 is the cytokine that mediates the anti-tumor effects of the Coley's Toxin, but clinical trial have not been successful in using IL-12 as a therapy. I think much more research has to be done to understand the mechanism that is at work.
 
  • #8
1,460
1
It is true that local elevated temperature is already used as an accepted supplement for cancer treatment (although probably not widely practiced). A local raise in temperature is used to increase the flow of blood in the area where a tumor resides. This means that the chemotherapeutic agents can more easily access the tumor and thus the therapy will be more effective. The reverse is also practiced to reduce the side-effect of hair loss during chemotherapy: patients are fitted with a hood that cools their scalp so that the blood-flow is reduced, this means that the chemotherapeutic drugs cannot access the hair follicles during the treatment and hair loss is prevented. This is only possible when the tumor is non-metastatic.

The treatment as proposed by William Coley is different, because the fever is used to trick the body in believing there is an immune response. It is thought that IL-12 is the cytokine that mediates the anti-tumor effects of the Coley's Toxin, but clinical trial have not been successful in using IL-12 as a therapy. I think much more research has to be done to understand the mechanism that is at work.
Not to mention that any of these treatments using inflammatory signals is dangerous as hell... maybe a step below undifferentiated cells right into the eyeball. Fevers are a razor to walk upon, with death and brain damage on one side, and killing a pathogen (or cancer) on the other. As in the case of both pathogens and cancer, killing SOME of it isn't enough, and to cleanse the whole system would probably kill the host. A grim business.
 
  • #9
100
1
i wonder if anyone has thought to use an uncoupler like 2,4-dinitrophenol to elevate body temp for this ?
 

Related Threads on Fever kills cancer?

  • Last Post
Replies
17
Views
52K
Replies
3
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
22K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
15K
Replies
18
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
669
Top