Researchers propose a new method to fight cancer cells that develop resistance to therapy by heating them, called the "Lance Armstrong effect."

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming almost 8 million lives annually. Some people respond well to chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments, while others develop resistant to those treatments.

For example “Lance Armstrong” a world renowned cyclist, who beat metastatic testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain, and continued to win the Tour de France. Testicular cancer has a high survival rate, more than 70 percent even though it metastasized or spread, while pancreatic cancer survival rate is 25 percent. And the researchers question why this is?

Robert H. Getzenberg, Ph.D. is the Director of Research of the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute and Donald Coffey, Ph.D. both Professor of Urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine propose to explore the "Lance Armstrong effect"reported in the ACS journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Dr. Getzenberg and Coffey realized that due to the cooler temperature environment of the testicle, testicular cancer cells function in a different temperature environment compared to the rest of the body. When the cancer cells spread to other organs, they were exposed to a warmer environment.

The researchers think that the warm environment shocked the tumor cells making it less resistant to conventional cancer therapies.

Researchers are now testing this "Lance Armstrong effect" on nanoparticle therapies to specifically heat other types of tumors above their normal temperatures to see if this effect hold true for non-testicular tumors.