Overview

 

Apoptosis is defined as physiological programmed cell death, which occurs from a wide variety of internal and external stimuli. Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) is a novel tumor ablation technique using a non-thermal energy to create innumerable permanent nanopores in the cell membrane to disrupt cellular homeostasis. Disruption of cellular homeostasis, by means of IRE initiates apoptosis which leads to permanent cell death. The advantages of apoptotic cell death created by IRE include the utilization of immune mediated cell death, which induces phagocytosis to clear up post-ablation debris, leading to fast recovery and regeneration by certain organs, since apoptosis is recognized as a natural course of each cell cycle.
 

Figure 1: IRE – Apoptosis and Phagocytosis.1

In the article “Irreversible Electroporation of the Pancreas: Definitive Local Therapy Without Systemic Effects”, by Bower et al., (J. Surg. Oncol., 104(1): 22-28, July 2011), it was reported that pathology findings revealed “significant replacement of destroyed pancreatic tissue with infiltrating foamy macrophages.”

IRE is a non-thermal ablative technique, in which the electric field created by IRE is devoid of any joule heating and therefore, non-thermal necrosis is achieved. Energy delivery using two NanoKnife Probes, produced a tissue temperature lower than 50◦C. The transient temperature distribution due to an 800-μs, 1331-V pulse for the two electrode configuration, 1mm in diameter with 10-mm center-to-center spacing.

Figure 2: Non-thermal energy delivery using two NanoKnife Probes.2

As shown above, energy delivery using two NanoKnife Probes, produced a tissue temperature lower than 50°C. The transient temperature distribution due to an 800-μs, 1331-V pulse for the two-electrode configuration, 1mm in diameter with 10-mm centerto-center spacing. Surface plots illustrating the distribution at (A) 200, (B) 400, and (C) 800 μs. Contour plots detailing the temperature distribution near the rightmost electrode at (D) 200, (E) 400, and (F) 800 μs.
 

1. Images adapted from: Bower et al., J. Surg. Oncol., 104(1): 22-28, July 2011
2. Adapted from: Davalos et al., Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 33(2); 223-231, February 2005

 

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