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Study of calcium electroporation and immune modulators

STSM by Hanne Falk Hansen, PhD Student

Period of mission: from 12/04/2015 to 20/05/2015

Home institution: Center for Experimental Drug and Gene Electrotransfer, Department of Oncology, Herlev University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark

Host institution: Cork Cancer Research Center, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Calcium electroporation is a new local cancer treatment using electric pulses to internalize calcium in cancer cells, which leads to an intracellular calcium overload and necrosis. Necrosis is often associated with immunogenic cell death, a type of cell death that allows immune cell involvement. If calcium electroporation induce an immune response and create an anti-tumor specific response, it may be possible to enhance the response and create a systemic effect. 

To investigate whether calcium electroporation creates an immune response, Balb/c mice were injected with the murine colon cancer cell line CT26. At a tumor diameter of 0.4-0.8 cm the mice were treated with injection of calcium chloride and electroporation. Post treatment tumors were measured regular for growth and survival, and at day three and seven tumors were collected for histological analysis for infiltrating immune cells, and blood sampled to analyze the pro-inflammatory cytokine profile. Same procedures were performed on control groups (bleomycin and electroporation, electroporation alone, calcium and sonoporation, bleomycin and sonoporation, sonoporation alone, calcium alone, bleomycin alone and untreated).

The four groups with respectively calcium or bleomycin combined with either electroporation or sonoporation, all showed decrease in tumor sizes. Edemas were created around tumors treated with calcium unlike the tumors treated with bleomycin, indicating that the cell death in the two treatments could be different. The other groups showed no effect with increasing tumor size. Further results are pending.


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