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Tools and methods for in vivo electroporation


Electroporation (EP) is the phenomenon in which cell membrane permeability to molecules is increased after exposing the cell to high electric field short pulses. Depending on various factors, such permeabilization will be temporary and will not compromise cell viability ("reversible EP") or will be permanent, or too intense, so that homeostasis will be severely disrupted and the cell will end up dying by necrotic or apoptotic processes ("irreversible EP"). Both EP modes have important applications in biotechnology and in medicine. For instance, reversible EP is now a routine technique in microbiology labs for in vitro DNA transfection. My interest in EP was stimulated during my postdoctoral position at the University of California at Berkeley (2005-2009). There I had the opportunity to participate in the process in which Prof. Rubinsky brought the concept of using irreversible EP as an ablation technique from a mere idea into a clinical reality. In May 2009 I moved to Prof. Mir's lab at Villejuif (France) as a preliminary step in order to reintegrate myself into the EP European research arena. During the 90s, Prof. Mir pioneered the use of EP for enhancing the penetration of anti-tumor drugs. Control over the field magnitude that develops in tissues is crucial for EP therapies. During my postdoctoral position I introduced a set of techniques for such a purpose based on the concept of employing conductive gels. Feasibility of this method was demonstrated experimentally in superficial tumors and I anticipate that this methodology could be also useful for the treatment of different cancers, particularly those located in hollow organs such as esophagus, stomach and colon, which in some occasions are inoperable with current techniques. One specific objective of the project will be to explore in depth this opportunity. The other objectives are also related to in vivo EP applications. Numerical simulations and in vitro models will be used as research tools.

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Placa De La Merce, 10-12
08002 Barcelona

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Eva Martin (Ms.)
EU contribution
€ 100 000