How are pulsed electric fields being used in cancer therapy?

October 11, 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
Credit: (c) 2018 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Pulsed electric fields are helping fight cancer, whether by inducing tumor cell death or by stimulating the immune system. A comprehensive overview of this developing field is published in the preview issue of Bioelectricity.

Richard Nuccitelli, Ph.D., of Pulse Biosciences, Hayward, CA, discusses the different ways bioelectricity is being used to treat tumors in the article "Application of Pulsed Electric Fields to Cancer Therapy." Dr. Nuccitelli provides a clearly written description of the three main types of pulses and their uses. Pulses in the millisecond domain are typically used to facilitate the uptake of , such as plasmids, by . These can therefore be used to deliver genes encoding cancer-fighting proteins into . Pulses in the microsecond domain allow small molecules, such as drugs, to cross the cell membrane significantly increasing the efficiency of the treatment. The very short pulses, in the nanosecond domain, can create millions of small pores in the that by themselves affect cell signaling and cell function. This excellent review introduces readers to one of the most advanced of the many applications of bioelectricity to human health.

"The development and testing of pulsed electric field technology perfectly illustrate how research in bioelectricity leads to transformative biomedical approaches," says Dany Spencer Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Bioelectricity, from Tufts University, Medford, MA.

Explore further: Optimizing pulsed electric fields to target cancer with calcium ions

More information: Richard Nuccitelli, Application of Pulsed Electric Fields to Cancer Therapy, Bioelectricity (2018). DOI: 10.1089/bioe.2018.0001

Related Stories

Optimizing pulsed electric fields to target cancer with calcium ions

July 13, 2018
Several treatment methods are used against cancer, and promising new approaches are currently under examination by various institutions around the world. Researchers at Kumamoto University's Institute of Pulsed Power Science ...

Bioelectricity from eels

August 18, 2017
NUS biologists have gained insights on factors affecting electric discharge intensity from the electric eel, Electrophorus electricus.

Recommended for you

A bad influence—the interplay between tumor cells and immune cells

October 16, 2018
Research at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) yielded new insights into the environment surrounding different types of lung tumors, and described how these complex cell ecosystems may in turn ...

Student develops microfluidics device to help scientists identify early genetic markers of cancer

October 16, 2018
As anyone who has played "Where's Waldo" knows, searching for a single item in a landscape filled with a mélange of characters and objects can be a challenge. Chrissy O'Keefe, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biomedical ...

Technique to 'listen' to a patient's brain during tumour surgery

October 16, 2018
Surgeons could soon eavesdrop on a patient's brain activity during surgery to remove their brain tumour, helping improve the accuracy of the operation and reduce the risk of impairing brain function.

Researchers elucidate roles of TP63 and SOX2 in squamous cell cancer progression

October 16, 2018
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are aggressive malignancies arising from the squamous epithelium of various organs, such as the esophagus, head and neck, lungs, and skin. Previous studies have demonstrated that two master ...

Function of neutrophils during tumor progression unraveled

October 15, 2018
Researchers at The Wistar Institute have characterized the function of neutrophils, a type of white blood cells, during early stages of tumor progression, showing that they migrate from the bone marrow to distant sites and ...

Delving where few others have gone, leukemia researchers open new path

October 15, 2018
A Wilmot Cancer Institute study uncovers how a single gene could be at fault in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), one of the deadliest cancers. The breakthrough gives researchers renewed hope that a gene-targeted therapy could ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.