Electrochemotherapy is a treatment combining a low dose of a chemotherapy drug and an electrical pulse (electroporation) applied directly to the cancer cells using an electrode.

This low level dose of chemotherapy drug is not normally effective against the cancer, as it is diffi cult to get inside the cells. When the electric pulse is applied, the cells form pores allowing the drug to enter and be active against the cancer.

NICE published guidance on Electrochemotherapy in 2013, saying that it may reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for appropriately selected patients. As the chemotherapy drug is most active against the cancer cells, the normal tissue is unaffected.

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Basic concept of electrochemotherapy: (A) after injection drug surrounds the cells; (B) pore formation on the cell membrane after pulse delivery, drug enters the cells (C); membrane resealing, drug entrapped inside the cells (D) drug causes irreversible damage to cancer cells that die from mitosis.

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