... / Radiotherapy / Hyperthermia research

Hyperthermia research

Martine Franckena 300pxMartine Franckena, Radiation Oncologist

"As a radiation oncologist I treat patients with gynecological or urological tumors. In addition, I am the medical coordinator of the hyperthermia section. The effect of radiotherapy can be increased one and a half times by slightly heating the tumor, without aggravating the side-effects. Whether hyperthermia can be used depends mostly on the position of the tumor. In Rotterdam we are able to heat superficial tumors, e.g. breast or skin tumors, as well as tumors located in the pelvis or in the head and neck area. Other tumors, such as in the lungs or the head can unfortunately not yet be heated. In addition, the use of hyperthermia depends on the treatment it needs to enhance. Combining hyperthermia with chemotherapy strongly depends on the drug. With some drugs it is highly effective, but other drugs might lose their effect or become more toxic. The Erasmus MC can be regarded as the international center of expertise, even though hyperthermia itself is also done in other places. In Rotterdam, however, we are able to make patient specific schedules where we can
monitor the best way of heating during the treatment. In addition, we now have a special MRI  system that allows us to heat tumors inside the MRI scanner.  Using this system we can investigate the mechanisms behind hyperthermia. Our Radiobiology research (Professor Kanaar) has shown that heating inhibits repair of DNA damage, increasing the effect of the treatment.
But also the improved blood flow in the tumor can add to the effect of the treatment. The Dutch Cancer Foundation (Koningin Wilhelminafonds, KWF) has awarded me a large sum of money to set up a research project using the new MRI scanner."

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