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Critical Reviews™ in Therapeutic Drug Carrier Systems
IF: 2.9 5-Year IF: 3.72 SJR: 0.736 SNIP: 0.818 CiteScore™: 4.6

ISSN Print: 0743-4863
ISSN Online: 2162-660X

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Critical Reviews™ in Therapeutic Drug Carrier Systems

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevTherDrugCarrierSyst.v16.i6.10
48 pages

Electroporation Therapy of Solid Tumors

G. A. Hofmann
Genetronics, Inc., 11199, Sorrento Valley Road, San Diego, CA 92121
S. B. Dev
Genetronics, Inc., 11199, Sorrento Valley Road, San Diego, CA 92121
G. S. Nanda
Genetronics, Inc., 11199, Sorrento Valley Road, San Diego, CA 92121
D. Rabussay
Genetronics, Inc., 11199, Sorrento Valley Road, San Diego, CA 92121


The curative effects of some chemotherapeutic drugs are impeded by their poor permeation through the cell membrane. This limitation can be overcome by a novel approach called electroporation therapy (EPT), electrochemotherapy (ECT), or electrical impulse chemotherapy (EIC). The method involves application of brief electrical pulses, which destabilize the cell membrane barrier, allowing intracellular access of chemotherapeutic drugs that otherwise would not be able to penetrate the cell membrane effectively. EPT makes it possible to lower the drug dose, thereby relieving the patient of adverse side effects associated with conventional chemotherapy. Even with the lower drug dose, EPT has shown significantly higher efficacy than has conventional chemotherapy. The method is currently being evaluated clinically for treating various cancer indications using the anticancer drugs bleomycin or cisplatin. This article provides a historical perspective and current insights into this new modality of cancer treatment, including basic physical, biological, and medical facts about EPT; computer-assisted development of electrical pulse generators and electrodes necessary to create effective electrical fields in the treatment area; results of cancer cell and tumor treatments in vitro, in animals, and in humans; safety aspects of EPT; potential combined delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs and biological agents to reduce or eliminate metastatic disease; and intracellular delivery of DNA by electroporation for cancer gene therapy.

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