Virginia Tech researchers attack cancers, Parkinson’s with electrical fields

January 18, 2018

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced funding for Virginia Tech’s research on electrotherapy, a process that attacks brain cancer and tumors associated with Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Virginia Tech researchers are enabling doctors to treat brain tumors once considered inoperable using irreversible electroporation. Irreversible electroporation, developed by Virginia Tech Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics Rafael Davalos and his team, opens a cancer cell’s pores using low-level electrical pulses, which allows for medicine to be better received by the cell.

This new process is also suited to destroy brain tumors and can potentially prevent patients from suffering through chemotherapy. Irreversible electroporation has been successful in treating more than 6,000 patients suffering from liver, kidney, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.

“Anyone who has lost a loved one from cancer understands the importance of this breakthrough,” said Theresa Mayer, vice president for research and innovation at Virginia Tech. “We cannot prevent cancer, but we are developing the weapons that allow us to defeat it. We are improving the human condition.”

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