Electrochemotherapy is an anti-cancer treatment that couples local administration of chemotherapy drugs to the delivery of pulses of a specific waveform. The application of these pulses allow for alterations in the cell membrane through an electrically mediated reorganization of the plasma membrane of cells such that there is increased uptake of the chemotherapy drugs. Ultimately this leads to cancer cell death.
It is used in conjunction with chemotherapy (either locally or intravenously), it allows drugs to enter the cells to a very high concentration. Chemotherapy is widely used for a broad range of cancers. In many instances, the response rates are low. This is because the drug cannot reach its intracellular site of action. The cell membrane is often the barrier that reduces the effectiveness by restricting drug access. Electric pulses can be utilized to cause temporary and reversible permeability of cell membranes to augment the delivery of chemotherapy. The two drugs of choice are Bleomycin and Cisplatin; as they both are relatively large molecules and poorly permeable on their own.
It has received considerable attention in the last 15 years as an emerging way of delivering chemotherapy agents to different tumor types. It can be used to treat gross disease (in some cases) or as an adjuvant treatment to surgery in humans and our pet species. Each tumor type and patient is individually evaluated to determine how many sessions of electrochemotherapy would be necessary to benefit your pet. You should inquire as to whether your pet may be a candidate to receive electrochemotherapy to help treat their cancer.
The Animal Medical Center of Seattle’s Dr. Chelsea Tripp, a Board Certified Veterinary Oncologist, made a guest appearance on KING 5’s New Day Northwest television show to discuss Electrochemotherapy, a cutting edge cancer treatment, in a segment called “All About Pets,” that was hosted by Margaret Larson. Please visit this link to see segments of the show!