Nanosecond pulsed electric fields cause melanomas to self-destruct

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 May 5;343(2):351-60. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.02.181. Epub 2006 Mar 10.


We have discovered a new, drug-free therapy for treating solid skin tumors. Pulsed electric fields greater than 20 kV/cm with rise times of 30 ns and durations of 300 ns penetrate into the interior of tumor cells and cause tumor cell nuclei to rapidly shrink and tumor blood flow to stop. Melanomas shrink by 90% within two weeks following a cumulative field exposure time of 120 micros. A second treatment at this time can result in complete remission. This new technique provides a highly localized targeting of tumor cells with only minor effects on overlying skin. Each pulse deposits 0.2 J and 100 pulses increase the temperature of the treated region by only 3 degrees C, ten degrees lower than the minimum temperature for hyperthermia effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Female
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy*
  • Mice
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Treatment Outcome