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IRE technology in detail

IRE (Irreversible Electroporation)—the technology in detail

Every process and every binding force in our body is based on electromagnetic interactions on a microscopic level. Hormones, proteins, DNA cell walls, etc., they are all being held together, binding and interacting by smartly arranged differences in potential of carbon based molecules. So it’s not surprising that external electrical fields can cause a multitude of effects. Strongly pulsed electric fields start to prove to be an extremely potent tool for interacting with our biological matrix, among the applications is tissue selective cancer treatment.

Non-Thermal Irreversible Electroporation is a special case of the so-called pulsed electric field treatment. PEFs (Pulsed Electric Fields) provide local field strengths so high that the binding forces on cell walls break, causing nanometer sized pores. This disrupts the very purpose of the cell designhomeostasis. Normally, the cell recovers from these wall disruptions in seconds to minutes. However, if the amount and size of the pores reach a certain threshold, the damage done by the homeostasis loss is too severe and becomes irreversiblehence IRE (Irreversible Electroporation). Still, the timing of the pulses is short enough to not cause significant joules heating (depending on tissue conductivity, number of pulses and volumetric configuration), hence the term Non-Thermal Irreversible Electroporation (NT-IRE).

IRE (Irreversible Electroporation) for cancer treatment—from macroscopic to microscopic and back

So, now let's take a look at IRE: