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Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2014 Jul 11;16:295-320. doi: 10.1146/annurev-bioeng-071813-104622. Epub 2014 May 27.

Electroporation-based technologies for medicine: principles, applications, and challenges.

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Center for Engineering in Medicine, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Shriners Burn Hospital for Children, Boston, Massachusetts 02114; email (M.L.Y.):


When high-amplitude, short-duration pulsed electric fields are applied to cells and tissues, the permeability of the cell membranes and tissue is increased. This increase in permeability is currently explained by the temporary appearance of aqueous pores within the cell membrane, a phenomenon termed electroporation. During the past four decades, advances in fundamental and experimental electroporation research have allowed for the translation of electroporation-based technologies to the clinic. In this review, we describe the theory and current applications of electroporation in medicine and then discuss current challenges in electroporation research and barriers to a more extensive spread of these clinical applications.


DNA vaccination; electrochemotherapy; electropermeabilization; gene electrotransfer; irreversible electroporation; pulsed electric field

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