Moderate hyperthermia between 39-41 º Celsius has been targeted as an objet of study because of its effects on the immune system cells, and concretely on the improvement of the performance of proteins (HSPs, APCs) as mediators to bio-inform immune system cells and activate them to attack tumor cells or pathogenic microorganisms. These types of proteins are being studied in the field of the immunology. Many studies in immunology are designed to define the key role of these proteins regarding cancer cells.
For example some tests were done in relation to a specific HSP, HSP70 which can inhibit apoptosis mechanism in cancer cells in pancreas, prostate and stomach, and even these proteins can protect tumor cells from the heat shock induces by hyperthermia. So if we can affect these types of proteins and deactivate them combining immunotherapy with hyperthermia, it would be a great combination to be consider in cancer fighting strategy.
We can use the activity of these proteins as “danger signs” recognized by the immune system cells and therefore generating a proper immune response. Using heat shock or stress we can induce the expression or secretion of these proteins by the stressed tumor cells and then the immune system cells properly activated can recognized these signals and use them as a target to generate an attack.
According to studies conducted by the Biotherapy Institute of Japan in April 2008, there is a significant augmented immunological effect as a consequence of hyperthermia sessions, reporting serious injury in the malignant tumors. Natural Killers and T-cells activity has been significantly increased after performing regional or local hyperthermia sessions during the 7 days post-treatment period.