Fast algorithms for treatment planning in electroporation based therapies Fast algorithms for treatment planning in electroporation based therapies

Abstract: Electroporation is the phenomenon by which cell membrane permeability to ions and macromolecules is increased by exposing the cell to short high electric field pulses. This phenomenon can be used to produce a transient and reversible cell membrane permeabilization or can be used to produce a severe alteration of cell homeostasis that irreversibly results in cell death. Reversible electroporation of living tissues is the basis for different therapeutic maneuvers on clinical use such as the in vivo introduction of genes into cells ("electrogenetherapy") and the introduction of anti-cancer drugs into cells of solid tumors ("electrochemotherapy"). Recently, irreversible electroporation (IRE) has also found a use in tissues as a minimally invasive surgical procedure to ablate undesirable tissue with important advantages when compared to thermal ablation techniques. Since electroporation occurs in those regions where the electric field magnitude overcomes a threshold, it is possible to perform Treatment Planning by computing the electric field distribution. That is, it is possible to plan the location of the electrodes and the magnitude of the voltages to be applied across those electrodes for selectively treating a target region, for instance, for ablating a tumor by IRE. Treatment Planning for electroporation-based therapies is an incipient research field. Until now, this has been attempted with tools based on the finite element method and other numerical methods which produce accurate but computationally demanding and slow results. As a consequence, these tools are unsuitable for most clinical scenarios in which the clinician must intraoperatively plan the location of the electrodes. In this project it is proposed to explore algorithms for computing very fast, and reasonably accurate, results based on pre-computed solutions and morphing and scaling techniques.