Our research group uses non-ionizing energy to manipulate and study the various components of the tissue microenvironment with the goal of understanding biological and cellular factors determining cell death, healing and immune response. We use knowledge gained from our experiments to advance image-guided, minimally invasive treatment of cancer and other non-malignant health conditions.
Biophysical (heat, ph change, etc.) and cellular (cell death, stimulation, electroporation) effects of electromagnetic and electrical energy can be mathematically defined, allowing optimization of energy parameters to induce specific biological outcomes. We use multiphysics numerical simulations to plan, predict, and understand the interaction of pulsed electric fields from sub-cellular to organ-system levels. Simulation outcomes are validated experimentally, and the combined data is used to develop models of biological processes such as cell death following energy based therapy.
The figure depicts the use of patient specific models to evaluate the safety and efficacy of irreversible electroporation for the treatment of prostate cancer. (Read more)
Cancer in sensitive anatomic locations, such as hollow organs of the genitourinary (ureter and bladder), gastrointestinal (bile duct, colon and esophagus) and respiratory tract (bronchus) is difficult to treat from the significant risk of morbidity to the patient. We use computer aided engineering principles to design novel, translationally relevant, medical devices to deliver electrical pulses for tumor eradication without affecting normal function of the organ.
The cell membrane, the extracellular space and the microvasculature present barriers to the transit of small molecule, antibody, nanoparticle and cellular therapeutics. We use energy based techniques to modulate barrier function in the tumor microenvironment, advancing drug and biologic delivery without requiring additional surface or functional modification.
The schematic depicts electroporation mediated changes to endothelial permeability promoting the delivery of liposomal doxorubicin nanoparticles into tumors. (Read more)
Tissue ablation creates an internal wound that provides an opportunity to study wound healing under normal and malignant conditions. Further, energy delivery targeting specific components (extracellular matrix or blood vessels) of the tissue microenvironment allows dissection of the impact and contribution of these components in cell migration and function.
The panel on the left depicts the application of irreversible electroporation to the ureteral wall for decellularization with preservation of collagen in the extracellular matrix (blue stain). When compared to immediate post-treatment samples, presence of an intact basement membrane and tissue perfusion supports rapid re-urothelialization of the treated segment. (Read more)