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Electrochemotherapy is a therapeutic approach providing delivery into cell interior of non-permeant drugs with intracellular targets. It is based on the local application of short and intense electric pulses that transiently permeabilize cell membrane, thus allowing transport of molecules otherwise not permitted by a cellular membrane. Applications for treatment of cutaneous and subcutaneous tumors have reached clinical use (antitumor electrochemotherapy using bleomycin or cisplatin). Electrochemotherapy with bleomycin has been used to treat the patient for the first time in 1991 at the Institute Gustave Roussy in France, while electrochemotherapy with cisplatin has been used to treat the patient for the first time in 1995 at the Institute of Oncology, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since then more than 4000 patients were treated with electrochemotherapy all over the world (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA). Recently, new electrochemotherapy modalities have been developed for treatment of internal tumors using surgical procedures, endoscopic routes or percutaneous approaches to gain access to the treatment area.

Source: Source: Wikipedia page on Electroporation,


Electroporation, or electropermeabilization, is a significant increase in the electrical conductivity and permeability of the cell plasma membrane caused by an externally applied electrical field. It is usually used in molecular biology as a way of introducing some substance into a cell, such as loading it with a molecular probe, a drug that can change the cell's function, or a piece of coding DNA.

Electroporation is a dynamic phenomenon that depends on the local transmembrane voltage at each point on the cell membrane. It is generally accepted that for a given pulse duration and shape, a specific transmembrane voltage threshold exists for the manifestation of the electroporation phenomenon (from 0.5 V to 1 V). This leads to the definition of an electric field magnitude threshold for electroporation (Eth). That is, only the cells within areas where E≥Eth are electroporated. If a second threshold (Eir) is reached or surpassed, electroporation will compromise the viability of the cells, i.e., irreversible electroporation.

In molecular biology, the process of electroporation is often used for the transformation of bacteria, yeast, and plant protoplasts. In addition to the lipid membranes, bacteria also have cell walls which are different from the lipid membranes and are made of peptidoglycan and its derivatives. However, the walls are naturally porous and only act as stiff shells that protect bacteria from severe environmental impacts. If bacteria and plasmids are mixed together, the plasmids can be transferred into the cell after electroporation. Several hundred volts across a distance of several millimeters are typically used in this process. Afterwards, the cells have to be handled carefully until they have had a chance to divide producing new cells that contain reproduced plasmids. This process is approximately ten times as effective as chemical transformation.

This procedure is also highly efficient for the introduction of foreign genes in tissue culture cells, especially mammalian cells. For example, it is used in the process of producing knockout mice, as well as in tumor treatment, gene therapy, and cell-based therapy. The process of introducing foreign DNAs into eukaryotic cells is known as transfection.

Source: Source: Wikipedia page on Electroporation,

Gene Electrotransfer

Gene electrotransfer is a versatile biotechnology technique that enables transfer ofgenetic material into prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells. It is based on a physical method named electroporation, where transient increase in the permeability of cell membraneis achieved when submitted to short and intense electric pulses. In consequence transport of large molecules (naked plasmid DNA, antisense oligonucleotidessiRNA) into cells that otherwise cannot permeate through the cell membrane is achieved. Gene electrotransfer was first described in the 80s and since then due to its ease of application and efficiency become a routine method for introducing foreign genes intobacterialyeastplant,and animal cells in vitro and into different tissues, includingmuscle, tumorsliver, and skin in vivo.

Source: Source: Wikipedia page on Electroporation,

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