Dynamic Electrical Responses of Biological Cells and Tissue to Low- and High-Frequency Irreversible Electroporation Waveforms

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Virginia Tech


Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a local ablation technique that has been shown to be both safe and effective in the treatment of solid tumors. The treatment typically consists of inserting needle electrodes directly into the treatment zone and applying high-voltage pulses with widths on the order of hundreds of microseconds. These pulses permeabilize tissue leading to loss of homeostasis among the cells in the treatment zone. Predicting these treatments is challenging as the electric field (EF) induced through the electrode configuration is heterogeneous and is affected by several adjustable parameters. Computational treatment planning models aim to provide a visualization of the treatment zone, and they rely on two critical pieces of information: the electric field distribution (EFD) within the tissue, and the lethal EF threshold for the target tissue type. This work primarily aims to quantify tissue properties necessary for computing the EFD for any electrode configuration, for both traditional IRE as well as next-generation high-frequency IRE treatments. Also included is the determination of pancreatic tumor lethal EF threshold using collagen tissue mimics. Additionally, this work builds on previous reports of an optimal resistance reached during IRE by examining the changes in patients' immune cell populations following treatment, and proposing a method of optimizing these populations by monitoring real-time current achieved during IRE.



Electroporation, bioimpedance, tissue properties, ablation, cancer