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Sine wave electroporation enables drug delivery to brain tumors while minimizing tissue damage

MAY 31, 2024
Sinusoidal waveform offers greater flexibility for targeted effects over square wave pulses.
Sine wave electroporation enables drug delivery to brain tumors while minimizing tissue damage internal name

Sine wave electroporation enables drug delivery to brain tumors while minimizing tissue damage lead image

Glioblastoma is one of the deadliest cancers due to its extreme aggression and difficulty to treat. Because these tumors form in the brain, most treatment options either risk damaging surrounding tissue or are obstructed by the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which separates brain tissue from the bloodstream and filters out most medications.

A promising approach to circumvent the BBB is electroporation, a technique that uses pulsed electric fields to create nanoscale defects in cell membranes. Campelo et al. evaluated two different types of electroporation for their ability to disrupt the BBB and for their effects on adjacent tissue.

In addition to increasing BBB permeability, electroporation can also selectively ablate cells. Both effects only occur when the electric field exceeds a certain threshold, so a square wave pulse is commonly used for maximizing cell ablation efficiency. However, using a square pulse to extensively disrupt the BBB limits the ability to prevent damage to healthy cells. Instead, the researchers explored applying a sinusoidal waveform.

“With the transient increase and decrease of the sinusoidal shaped waveform amplitude, we have the ability to better balance the effects,” said author Sabrina Campelo. “For example, we can optimize our protocol to maximize BBB disruption while minimizing ablation and even reduce muscle contractions.”

The result is an approach that enables drug delivery to distant tumor cells while reducing damage to surrounding tissue. The team will continue to explore this method for cancer treatments.

“Future research will explore the synergistic advantages of combining sinusoidal electroporation with an adjuvant to target metastasis, ensuring that the ablation of bulk tumor tissue remains contained within the tumor boundaries,” said Campelo.

Source: “Burst-sine wave electroporation (B-SWE) for expansive blood-brain barrier disruption and controlled non-thermal tissue ablation for neurological disease,” by Sabrina Nicole Campelo, Zaid S. Salameh, Julio P. Arroyo, James L. May, Sara O. Altreuter, Jonathan Hinckley, Rafael Vidal Davalos, and John H. Rossmeisl, APL Bioengineering (2024). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0198382 .

This paper is part of the Physical Sciences Approaches to Cancer Research Collection, learn more here .

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