Antwerpse MedTech start-up verhoogt lichaamstemperatuur tot 41,5 graden om kanker te bestrijden

Antwerp MedTech start-up raises body temperature to 41.5 degrees to fight cancer

prof. dr. John-Paul Bogers, co-founder and CEO of ElmediX

ElmediX developed a safe and effective method to treat cancer patients with thermal therapy or heat therapy. By temporarily raising their body temperature significantly, more cancer cells will die. The life-saving technology of the Antwerp MedTech start-up is now in the clinical phase, the founders hope to be able to market their solution in 2025 or 2026.

  • How? prof. dr. John-Paul Bogers and ir. Johan Van den Bossche
  • Since? 2015, as a spin-off from the University of Antwerp
  • Employees? 18
  • Funding? 12 million euros

The thermal therapy developed by ElmediX raises the full body temperature of cancer patients to 41.5 degrees for a few hours, explains founder John-Paul Bogers. “At that temperature, cancer cells die without other cells in the body dying. That’s the hard part about thermal therapy. If the temperature is too low, the therapy will not be effective enough. But if the body temperature is too high, the ‘good’ cells will also die.”

“Thermal therapy or heat therapy kills tumours, but is mainly used in combination with other therapies. Thermal therapy makes cancer cells more sensitive to radiation. Tumors also mutate, over time they respond differently to chemotherapy and can become resistant. Thermal therapy breaks through that chemoresistance. In addition, heat therapy strengthens the immune system.”


Raising someone’s body temperature to 41.5 degrees for a few hours, isn’t that dangerous? “Of course we do that in a hyper-controlled environment,” emphasizes Bogers. “This is done in a special device, a kind of incubator. Thermal therapy is not new, we have succeeded in developing a very safe and controlled method. By bringing the entire body to that high temperature, we can also treat metastatic cancers with thermal therapy.”

ElmediX focuses primarily on pancreatic cancers. There are a number of reasons for this, says Bogers. “The first reason is personal: I lost my own mother to pancreatic cancer when she was 57. It is one of the deadliest cancers. That is the second reason why we singled out pancreatic cancer. When patients receive their diagnosis, the cancer is often much more spread than other cancers. That strongly jeopardizes their chances of survival.”

On the market by 2026 at the latest

Anyone who develops life-saving technology must have the patience of an angel. “Today we are in the clinical phase with ElmediX,” says Bogers. “We have passed lab tests and tests on (lab) animals, today we are testing our method on real patients. We do this together with the University of Antwerp and the Antwerp University Hospital. We hope that we can enter the market in 2025 or 2026.”

“But you have to go through a whole process: you have to show that your solution works and that it is safe for the patient. And then I’m not even mentioning all the regulations that you have to take into account on the road. But we are convinced that our solution can help millions of people. That helps to remain patient.”

Every week we present – in random order – a company from the list of 30 most innovative tech start-ups and scale-ups that Omar Mohout put together especially for Bloovi and that we Flanders Tech 30 baptized. These companies have already been discussed:

  1. D-CRBN
  2. Foodpairing
  3. SoundTalks
  4. Goodless
  5. Swimtraxx / Capetech
  6. Solergy
  7. IVEX
  8. IPEE
  10. Slimbox
  11. QelviQ
  12. CoMoveIT
  13. Moonbird
  14. Arani
  15. CADSkills
  16. Alberts
  17. Westray
  18. Urban Crop Solutions
  19. Tractonomy
  20. Bloomlife
  21. On-Hertz
  22. Magics Technologies
  23. dotOcean
  24. Morrow
  25. Seafar
  26. ElmediX

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