Clinical Applications of Electroporation

  • S. B. Dev
  • G. A. Hofmann


Electroporation is a well-established physical technique of introducing molecules, such as drugs, antibodies, or DNA, into cells by creating transient pores in the cell membrane. This is done by applying an electrical field to a suspension of cells with the transfectant (e.g., drugs) in a container with electrodes. Applications include preparation of gene libraries and genetic manipulation. Recently, however, the technology has gone beyond research laboratories and is being applied in clinical sciences. In this chapter applications are discussed both in the areas of drug delivery and of gene therapy. Examples include cancer, AIDS, restenosis, hemophilia B, and aplastic anemia, the last two nearing clinical trial. The advantages of electroporation over retrovirus-based gene therapy are discussed, and it is speculated that all single gene diseases with a genomic size less than 190 kb should be amenable to electroporetic gene therapy. Electroinsertion, the related technique of creating small pores to insert molecules in the surface of the cell membrane, may provide an effective way to overcome the current problems of delivering peptides and proteins.


Gene Therapy Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Aplastic Anemia Familial Hypercholesteremia Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbott, A. (1992). German state unexpectedly approves first gene trials. Nature. 360: 702.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Abraham, W., Bommannan, D. M., Potts, R. W., and Tamada, J. (1993). Drug Delivery: Status, Issues and Challenges for Medicine. Page 6. In Proc. BES Symp., Bielefeld, April 5–8.Google Scholar
  3. Akhtar, S., and Ivinson, A. J. (1993). Therapies that make sense. Nature Genetics. 4: 215–216.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, W. F. ed., (1991). Human Gene Therapy. 2 (2).Google Scholar
  5. Belehradek, J. Jr., Orlowski, S., Poddevin, B., et al. (1991). Electrochemotherapy of spontaneous mammary tumors in mice, Eur. J. Cancer. 27: 73–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Breakefield, X. W. (1993). Gene delivery into the brain using virus vectors. Nature Genet. 3: 187–189.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Costa, J. L., and Hofmann, G. A. (1987). Malignancy Treatment. US Patent, 4,665,898.Google Scholar
  8. Crawford, N. (1993). Electropermeabilized platelets as drug delivery vehicles. Pages 284–294. In Restenosis Summit V, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.Google Scholar
  9. Dai, Y. F., Qui, X. F., Xue, J. L., and Liu, Z. D. (1992). High efficient transfer and expression of human clotting Factor IX cDNA in cultured human primary skin fibroblasts from hemophilia B patient by retroviral vectors; Science in China. Ser. B. 35: 183.Google Scholar
  10. Davies, K. (1992). Moving straight to the target. Nature. 358: 519.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. El Gammal, B. A. B., Pfliegler, G., and Crawford, N. (1992). Effect of platelet encapsulated Iloprost on platelet aggregation and adhesion to collagen and injured blood vessels in vitro. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 68: 606–624.Google Scholar
  12. Gregoriadis, G., and Florence, A. T. (1993). Liposomes in drug delivery: Clinical, Diagnostic, and Ophthalmic Potential. Drugs. 45: 15–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hofmann, G. A., and Dev, S. B. (1993). Electroporation: From Research Laboratories to Clinical Practice. Proceedings of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology. 15: 11420–1421.Google Scholar
  14. Kanesada, H. (1990). Anticancer effect of high voltage pulses combined with concentration dependent anticancer drugs on Lewis lung carcinoma in vivo [in Japanese, English summary and tables]. J. Jpn. Soc. Cancer Ther. 25: 2640–2648.Google Scholar
  15. Keating, A., Horsfall, W., Hawley, R. G., and Toneguzzo, F. (1990). Effect of different promoters on expression of genes introduced into hematophoietic and marrow stem cells by electroporation. Expl. Hematol. 18: 99–102.Google Scholar
  16. Keating, A., and Toneguzzo, F. (1990). Gene transfer by electroporation: A model for gene therapy. Pages 491–498. In Progress in Clinical and Biological Research: Bone Marrow Purging and Processing. Gross, S., et al. eds. Alan R. Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Kolberg, R. (1992). Gene-transfer virus contaminant linked to Monkey’s cancer. J. NIH Research. 4: 43–44.Google Scholar
  18. Kuspa, A., and Loomis, W. F. (1992). Tagging developmental genes in Dictyostelium by restriction-mediated integration of plasmid DNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 89: 8803–8807.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Langer, R. (1990). New Methods of Drug Delivery. Science. 249: 1527–1533.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Larrick, J. W., and Burck, K. L. (1991). Gene Therapy, Elsevier, New York.Google Scholar
  21. Mangal, P. C., and Kaur, A. (1991). Electroporation of red blood cell membrane and its use as a drug carrier system. Indian J. Biochem. Biophys. 28: 219–221.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Miller, A. D. (1992). Human Gene therapy comes of age. Nature. 357: 455–460.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mir, L. M., Banoun, H., and Paoletti, C. (1988). Introduction of definite amounts of nonpermeant molecules into living cells after electropermeabilization: Direct access to cytosol. Exptl. Cell Res. 175: 15–25.Google Scholar
  24. Mir, L. M., Belehradek, M., Domenge, C., et al. (1991a). Electrochemotherapy, a novel antitumor treatment: first clinical trial. C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, 313: 613–618.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Mir, L. M., Orlowski, S., Belehradek, J. Jr., and Paoletti, C. (1991b). Electrochemotherapy potentiation of antitumor effect of bleomycin by local electric pulses. Eur. J. Cancer. 27: 68–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mir, L. M., Orlowski, S., Poddevin, B., et al. (1992). Electrochemotherapy tumor treatment is improved by interleukin-2 stimulation of the hosts’s defenses. Eur. Cytokine Netw. 3: 331–334.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Mouneimne, Y., Barhoumi, R., Myers, T. et al. (1990). Stable rightward shifts of the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve induced by encapsulation of inositol hexaphosphate in red blood cells using electroporation. FEBS Lett. 275: 117–120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mouneimne, Y., Tosi, P.-F., Barhoumi, R. and Nicolau, C. (1992). Electroinsertion: An electrical method for protein implantation in cell membranes. Pages 327–346. In Guide to electroporation and electrofusion. Chang, D. C., Chassy, B. M., Saunders, J. A., and Sowers, A. E., eds. Academic, San Diego.Google Scholar
  29. Mulligan, R. C. (1993). The basic science of gene therapy, Science. 260: 926–931.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nicolau, C., Volsky, D. J., and Potash, M. J. et al. (1993). Electroinserted full length CD4 as an active viral receptor on the plasma membrane of erythrocytes. Page 4. In Proc. BES Symp., Bielefeld, April 5–8.Google Scholar
  31. Okino, M., and Mohri, H. (1993). Effects of a high-voltage electrical impulse and an anticancer drug on in vivo growing tumors. Jpn. J. Cancer Res. (Gann) 78: 1319–1321.Google Scholar
  32. Okino, M., Tomie, H., Kanesada, H., and Marumoto, M., et al. (1992). Optimal electric conditions in electrical impulse chemotherapy. Jpn. J. Cancer Res. 83: 1095–1101.Google Scholar
  33. Potter, H. (1988). Electroporation in Biology: Methods, Applications, and Instrumentation. Anal. Biochem. 174: 361–373.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Reiley, J. P. (1992). Electrical simulation and electrophysiology. Page 31. Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  35. Salford, L. G., Persson, R. B. R., and Brun, A. et al. (1994). A brain tumor therapy combining bleomycin with ion vivo electropermeabilization. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 194: 938–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sixou, S., and Teissie, I. (1992). In vivo targeting of inflammed areas by electroporated neutrophils. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 186: 860–866.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Titomirov, A. V., Sukharev, S., and Kistanova, E. (1991). In vivo electroporation and stable transformation of skin cells of new born mice by plasmid DNA. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1088: 131–PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Wallace, B. M., and Lasker, J. S. (1993). Stand and deliver: Getting peptide drugs into the body. Science. 260: 912–913.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. B. Dev
  • G. A. Hofmann

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations