Heat Shock Proteins

Hyperthermia Cancer Institute- Los Angeles

When cells are exposed to heat, the therapy stimulates the production of proteins called Heat Shock Proteins (HSP’s). These proteins play a variety of roles within the cell and immune response. HSPs can act as alert signals, activating the immune system. They are also able to refold denatured (damaged) proteins- part of the cellular repair mechanism, or mark irreversibly damaged proteins for destruction- initiating what is called apoptosis, or programmed tumor cell death. When heat specifically destroys tumor cells, the cell releases tumor antigens that can be recognized by the immune system. The body’s immune system therefore has a heightened awareness of that cancer type- generating potent antitumor T-cell response. Which may help target metastatic disease.