Nonthermal irreversible electroporation (NTIRE) is a new minimally invasive surgical technique that is part of the emerging field of molecular surgery, which holds the potential to treat diseases with unprecedented accuracy. NTIRE utilizes electrical pulses delivered to a targeted area, producing irreversible damage to the cell membrane. Because NTIRE does not cause thermal damage, the integrity of all other molecules, collagen, and elastin in the targeted area is preserved. Previous theoretical studies have only examined NTIRE in homogeneous tissues; however, biological structures are complex collections of diverse tissues. In order to develop electroporation as a precise treatment in clinical applications, realistic models are necessary. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to refine electroporation as a treatment by examining the effect of NTIRE in heterogeneous tissues of the prostate and breast. This study uses a two-dimensional finite element solution of the Laplace and bioheat equations to examine the effects of heterogeneities on electric field and temperature distribution. Three different heterogeneous structures were taken into account: nerves, blood vessels, and ducts. The results of this study demonstrate that heterogeneities significantly impact both the temperature and electrical field distribution in surrounding tissues, indicating that heterogeneities should not be neglected. The results were promising. While the surrounding tissue experienced a high electrical field, the axon of the nerve, the interior of the blood vessel, and the ducts experienced no electrical field. This indicates that blood vessels, nerves, and lactiferous ducts adjacent to a tumor treated with electroporation will survive, while the cancerous lesion is ablated. This study clearly demonstrates the importance of considering heterogeneity in NTIRE applications.
Electrical Field and Temperature Model of Nonthermal Irreversible Electroporation in Heterogeneous Tissues
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Daniels, C., and Rubinsky, B. (July 16, 2009). "Electrical Field and Temperature Model of Nonthermal Irreversible Electroporation in Heterogeneous Tissues." ASME. J Biomech Eng. July 2009; 131(7): 071006. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.3156808
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