HOUSTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Hyperthermia is not a disease, but a treatment for diseases such as cancer being tested by U.S. researchers.
Dr. Joan Bull of the Center for Thermal Therapy Cancer Treatment at The University of Texas Medical School in Houston is researching the non-invasive therapy.
One of Bull's patients, 70-year-old Lydia Whitlow, survived oral cancer 15 years ago and was told in 2006 she would face an inoperable case of an aggressive "small cell" lung cancer with a poor survival rate.
For six months, Whitlow climbed into a heavy-duty sleeping bag warmed by infrared radiant heat device lamps to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Bull explains the heat can jumpstart the immune system just like a normal fever does when people get sick.
Whitlow is now disease free and says she is looking forward to gardening at her south Houston home.
"Evidence shows that the combination of chemotherapy, immune-modulating drugs and thermal therapy helps weaken the cancer and, in Whitlow's case, kills it altogether. In other cases, it can help reduce a tumor to an operable size," Bull said in a statement.
Bull is conducting Phase 2 clinical trials.
The findings are published in the International Journal of Hyperthermia.