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Advances in Electroporation Technology and Devices

Tuesday, April 10, 4:00-5:30
Meridian Ballrooms 4, Graduate Minneapolis

Organizers: John Bischof, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota

"Irreversible Electrporation for Brain Cancer Treatment"
Rafael Davalos, Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech

"Improving Anti-tumor CD8 T Cell Memory Formation and Function by Focal Energy Therapy"
Brandon Burbach, Center for Immunology, University of Minnesota

"Biophysical Responses of Cardiothoracic Tissues to Irreversible Electroporation Therapy"
Lars Mattison, University of Minnesota

"Biomaterial Scaffolds for Ablation of Disseminating Tumor Cells"
Samira Azarin, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota

"Physical and Chemical Enhancement of and Adaptive Resistance to Irreversible Electroporation of Pancreatic Cancer"
Qi Shao, Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota


Session Abstract:

Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a probe-based technique using electrical pulsing to destroy diseased cardiovascular, neural, and cancerous tissues. The session begins with a keynote lecture by Dr. Rafael Davalos, considered one of the founders of the IRE technique. His talk is followed by several from University of Minnesota researchers who will explore the physical limits and dosing for cancer and cardiovascular cell and tissue destruction, in situ circulating tumor cell capture and destruction, and the potential of IRE for cancer immunotherapy potentiation. At the end of the session, the audience will have gained an understanding of the state of IRE at the basic and translational level.


Session Organizer Bios:

John Bischof, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Bischof works in the area of thermal bioengineering with a focus on biopreservation, thermal therapy and nanomedicine. He is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Departments of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, the inaugural Carl and Janet Kuhrmeyer Chair in Mechanical Engineering and the Interim Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Minnesota.


Speaker Bios:

Rafael Davalos, Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech
Davalos is an endowed Professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics. He serves on the editorial board for the ASME Journal of Medical Devices and IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. Davalos received his BS from Cornell and PhD from Berkeley. He has 85 articles and an h-index of 41. Davalos is a Coulter Fellow and ASME Fellow.

Brandon Burbach, Center for Immunology, University of Minnesota
Brandon received a PhD in Cellular Pharmacology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then continued his study of integrins and cell adhesion in Dr. Yoji Shimizu’s lab in the Center for Immunology at the University of Minnesota, where he is now a Senior Research Associate.  Brandon’s research program aims to harness CD8 T cells to promote tumor-specific immune responses.

Lars Mattison, University of Minnesota
Lars Mattison is currently in his 5th year of study for his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His work in the Visible Heart Lab has focused on the isolated response of skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle to electroporation therapy.

Samira Azarin, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota
Samira Azarin is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota. She has degrees in chemical engineering from MIT (B.S. 2006) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D. 2011). Her current research program focuses on biomaterials and tissue engineering for applications in regenerative medicine and cancer therapeutics.

Qi Shao, Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Dr. Qi Shao is a research associate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UMN. Dr. Shao obtained his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the UM in 2016. Since then, he has performed post graduate research in the Bio Heat and Mass Transfer lab in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Dr. Shao is  the current manager of the Cancer Animal Core lab in the institute of Engineering for Medicine.


Presentation Abstracts:

"Irreversible Electrporation for Brain Cancer Treatment"
Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) uses minimally invasive surgical probes that deliver low-energy microsecond pulses for approximately 5 minutes to destroy unresectable tumors. We are currently developing IRE for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). Our preclinical work focuses on helping canine patients with naturally occurring GBM, which are excellent translational models of human GBM. Results of our ongoing trials have been extremely positive, supporting that IRE is effective for the treatment of GBM, including tumors refractory to surgery, radio- and chemotherapies.

"Improving Anti-tumor CD8 T Cell Memory Formation and Function by Focal Energy Therapy"
CD8 T cells mediate anti-tumor immune surveillance throughout the body, and can be harnessed therapeutically to promote tumor clearance. However, a number of complex factors influence the formation and fate of tumor-specific CD8 T cells. We show that long-lasting memory CD8 T cell populations can be formed following tumor challenge, but are frequently insufficient for tumor treatment. We hypothesize that tumor ablation utilizing optimized focal energy therapies may be beneficial to help generate functional populations of memory CD8 T cells.

"Biophysical Responses of Cardiothoracic Tissues to Irreversible Electroporation Therapy"
Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) is a relatively new ablation technology that can be used to treat tumors and cardiac arrhythmias. Early research has suggested that it has some benefits compared to more traditional techniques of ablation such as RF ablation. However, the effects of collateral damage can cause unwanted outcomes in patients, which means that it is essential to understand how all tissue types respond to IRE. The work presented here will examine tissues within the cardiothoracic cavity.

"Biomaterial Scaffolds for Ablation of Disseminating Tumor Cells"
While metastasis is the primary cause of cancer mortality, there is a lack of effective treatments targeting metastatic disease. Recently, polymer scaffolds that capture disseminating tumor cells by mimicking the pre-metastatic niche have been developed. In this work, we describe development of composite scaffolds that enable focal ablation of the captured tumor cells, facilitating the application of focal therapies to disseminated disease.

"Physical and Chemical Enhancement of and Adaptive Resistance to Irreversible Electroporation of Pancreatic Cancer"
We assess the IRE response of pancreatic cancer both in vitro and in vivo. In vitro viability for a given IRE dose can vary with the local chemistry. Reduction of glucose significantly improved IRE destruction. Repeated IRE lead to adaptive resistance in pancreatic carcinoma cells thereby reducing subsequent treatment efficacy. Physical enhancement of IRE, by re-arranging the pulse sequences without increasing the electrical energy delivered, achieve reduced viability in vitro and decreased tumor growth in an in vivo xenograft model.


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