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Pacific Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute Optimistic About Hyperthermic Treatment


San Pedro, CA - Aug. 3, 2007 - What if you could beat back mesothelioma with a hot bath? That would be too good to be true, and for now, it is. However, the Pacific Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Los Angeles is learning that high-temperature bathing of mesothelioma cells may slow down or even stop their growth.

This photo shows mesothelioma cells from a mouse
This photo shows mesothelioma cells from a mouse. The dark concentrations indicate the presence of malignant mesothelioma.

Reduced mesothelioma cells

Eight days after being immersed in a 42-degree Celsius bath, this close-up photo shows the mesothelioma has been significantly reduced.

This current study is phase I of a project testing hyperthermia with and without adjuvant therapy. The project first seeks to compare a variety of individual therapies: hyperthermia, COX-2 inhibition, and IL-4 toxin. Those results will suggest which therapies can be combined for maximum effectiveness in phase II. These combinations provide hope that the current 1-2 year median survival for mesothelioma patients can be significantly increased.

According to Jessica Like, executive director of PHLBI, "The long-range goal for this project is to develop effective anti-tumor treatment strategies. Heat, which is toxic for living cells, increases tumor penetration for chemotherapy. Some clinical trials are in the process of determining whether hyperthermia with chemotherapy improves survival compared to chemo by itself.

"Although hyperthermia has been utilized in peritoneal mesothelioma, it has not yet been applied to pleural mesothelioma. We hope that it soon will be."

The important work being done at the Institute includes plans for a study that begins in October, testing the effectiveness of IL-4 toxins in conjunction with Celebrex to see if it will kill or inhibit the induction of mesothelioma in lab animals.