ElectroPoration (EP) / Electro Chemotherapy (ECT): What is It?
After learning more about it at the World Veterinary Cancer Congress in Brazil in May 2016, we introduced electroporation (EP) into our Pawspice practices.
EP is technology that allows cancer patients another option when facing aggressive conventional surgery. EP may serve as an option to costly radiation therapy.
EP is achieved with a machine that delivers a precise voltage that opens pores in the cancer cell's membrane. These pores are called aquaporins. Dr. Peter Agre, who discovered aquaporins, received a Nobel Prize in 2003.
EP selectively opens cancer cell aquaphores to absorb only 2 chemotherapy agents, bleomycin (1,000 times) and cisplatin (a few dozen times) than normal cells. EP is indicated for difficult to remove tumors of the oral cavity, face, trunk, limbs, and digits. EP may require only one treatment for complete resolution. However, larger tumors often require several EP treatments at 2-3 week intervals.
Larger tumors can be excised or “debulked” with conservative margins and the tumor bed can be treated with EP before skin closure. The surgical area may need a drain or it may be left to heal as an open wound.
EP controls cancer locally and is comparable with other anticancer therapies needed to prevent local recurrence and metastasis (spread to lymph nodes, organs, lungs).
Treated tumor tissue of any cell type will undergo necrosis and regression over a period of 3-6 weeks. The wounds generally do not develop infections but need standard wound care post EP. Healing is excellent in most cases.
EP also provides a special bonus in that the body generates an immune response to the cancer cells while the cells are undergoing necrosis and releasing antigens.
Please note that EP requires all patients to be under anesthesia. There is a muscular reflex generated with the delivery of each electrical impulse. All patients need pain control medication and nursing care post op.
Call 562-493-5025 if your pet has a primary or recurrent malignant tumor in a difficult to remove location.
Dr. Alice Villalobos Alice Villalobos, DVM, FNAP, www.pawspice.com,
Director, Pawspice & Animal Oncology Consultation Service
Founder, Peter Zippi Fund for Animals www.peterzippifund.com
Animal Health Foundation Board of Directors www.animalhealthfoundation.net
Fellow-Emeritus, National Academies of Practice www.napractic.org
President-Emeritus, Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics www.svme.org
Past President, Human-Animal Bond Association www.aah-abv.org
Consultant, Pacific Marine Mammal Center & Oregon Tiger Sanctuary International Association of Animal Hospice & Palliative Care www.iaahpc.org
International Veterinary Association of Pain Management www.ivapm.org Veterinary Cancer Society, SCVMA, CVMA, AVMA, AAHA