A new experimental therapy for breast cancer uses the heated water and fat capsules to boost the effects of chemotherapy. "We've taken an approach where we've combined chemotherapy and we've basically encapsulated it into a fat globuLe or a liposome, we use that chemotherapy in combination with heating the tumor to try to improve the delivery of the effective therapeutic agent to the tumor." says Dr. Kim Blackwell, a cancer researcher with Duke University Medical Center.
After receiving chemotherapy, patients lie upon what looks like a massage table, their breast resting inside a water chamber where the tumor is heated with radio frequency energy. The heat draws the chemotherapy inside the tumor, where it trickles out of the fat capsule. Researchers say this approach delivers up to 30 times more chemotherapy directly to the tumor than standard therapy.
In a study of 21 women with newly diagnosed, large and invasive tumors, the combined therapy stopped tumor growth in every case and at least partially shrunk tumors in half the women. The therapy is still under study, but researchers say these early findings suggest this unique approach may offer a promising treatment option for women with inoperable breast cancer.