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Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Apr;11(2):189-201.

Towards electroporation based treatment planning considering electric field induced muscle contractions.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Etcheverry Hall, 6124, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. alex.golberg@berkeley.edu


The electric field threshold for muscle contraction is two orders of magnitudes lower than that for electroporation. Current electroporation treatment planning and electrode design studies focus on optimizing the delivery of electroporation electric fields to the targeted tissue. The goal of one part of this study was to investigate the relation between the volumes of tissue that experience electroporation electric fields in a targeted tissue volume and the volumes of tissue that experience muscle contraction inducing electric fields around the electroporated tissue volume, (V(MC)), during standard electroporation procedures and for various electroporation electrodes designs. The numerical analysis shows that conventional electroporation protocols and electrode design can generate muscle contraction inducing electric fields in surprisingly large volumes of non-target tissue, around the electroporation treated tissue. In studying various electrode configurations, we found that electrode placement in a structure we refer to as a "Current Cage" can substantially reduce the volume of non-target tissue exposed to electric fields above the muscle contraction threshold. In an experimental study on a tissue phantom we compare a commercial two parallel needle electroporation system with the Current Cage design. While tissue electroporated volumes were similar, V(MC) of tissue treated using the Current Cage design electrodes was an order of magnitude smaller than that using a commercially available system. An important aspect of the entire study is that it suggests the benefit of including the calculations of V(MC) for planning of electroporation based treatments such as DNA vaccination, electrochemotherapy and irreversible electroporation.

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