A new form of hyperthermia treatment to combat cancer has been developed by an Ehime University spin off located in Ehime, Japan. The technology has been tested on animals, and Ehime’s AdMeTech Co. is now looking for investors to prepare the equipment for human use. Compared with existing systems, the new equipment simplifies temperature and treatment location controls, according to AdMeTech, while shortening treatment times. Two or more needles are inserted in the target area, and energy is transferred through the needles by magnetic field inducement. By maintaining the surface temperature at 50º to 60ºC for approximately 10 minutes, the affected areas undergo necrosis within a few days, according to the company. By contrast, the Thermotron-RF8, which uses a pair of circular electrodes and an electromagnetic wave to treat cancerous regions, requires a treatment time of one hour at a temperature of 43ºC, notes AdMeTech.
Compared with other treatment options, hyperthermia systems are more patient-friendly because they put less stress on the patient’s body. The AdMeTech system will even administer treatment at the precancerous stage, preventing the progression to cancer. “This treatment method had never been tested. It is the first trial of this kind in the world,” says company President Shinichi Nakazumi.
About 500,000 women suffer from cervical cancer (CC) annually worldwide, according to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation. This new technology is suitable not only for treating cervical but also pharyngeal cancer and it can be used in laparoscopy, according to Nakazumi.
“Tests on animals have already proved that this new treatment method is safe and that it helps the affected area heal on its own.” (According to AdMeTech, there have been no signs of recurrence in the animal trials.) “I want to introduce this method to the world as soon as possible, but clinical trials require a lot of money, so I hope to raise funds and find investors,” says Nakazumi. Some Chinese and Taiwanese companies have already shown interest, he adds.
AdMeTech is an Ehime University venture business founded in 2003 by young researchers from its medical, science and engineering departments. The company obtained approval from Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency last summer to conduct clinical trials to examine whether the device is effective and safe for the in situ treatment of cervical cancer. This spring, the University’s Institutional Review Board granted approval for introduction of the clinical trial.Miki Anzai