Why electroporation?

Why electroporation? The reason is that electroporation is the most popular, most versatile, and most efficient transfection and transformation method available, for gene expression, in the widest variety of cell types.

In 1928, British medical officer Frederick Griffith conducted a series of classic experiments, with colonies of rough and smooth-coated Streptococcus pneumonia.  These experiments led Griffith to discover the phenomenon of transformation – the assimilation of exogenous genetic material by a cell – and were an important impetus for subsequent research by James Watson and Francis Crick, , the two scientists who discovered the structure of DNA and the nature of the double helix in 1953. Since then, by introducing specific genetic sequences into target cells, life science researchers worldwide have exploited the phenomenon of transformation, as a valuable tool for gene expression.

The most versatile and efficient transformation technique is electroporation: using accurately pulsed electric currents, to induce transient gaps in the phospholipid bilayer of cells. Extracellular genetic material passes through these transient gaps and is assimilated by the target cells’ DNA.  With careful choice of appropriate pulse time, waveform and voltage, cell member disturbance is minimized, target cell viability is enhanced, and reproducible transformation efficiencies of 80% are routinely achieved.  For these reasons, electroporation has become the transformation technique for many cell types.

OncoSec’s proprietary delivery system, called the OncoSec Medical System™ has already been cited in dozens of life science and gene expression research articles.  This system provides a patented design, a pre-optimized pulse program for treatment of solid tumors, a user-friendly interface, and the delivery of reproducible results, every time.

Unfortunately, electroporation devices are not stand-alone products. Typically, the final product is a triad of technologies:; (i) electroporation for delivery (device, methods, IP),;  (ii) gene sequence for biological activity,; and (iii) “other” constituting  the plasmid backbone, promoter, and other elements, in order to achieve expression and augmentation of physiological responses to the gene product.  Production technology for the plasmid would also be part of this component.  For DNA based immunotherapy development, unlike most conventional approaches, electroporation offers the ability to combine delivery with potential immune response augmentation.

Listed here are several of the pros and the challenge of electroporation:

Pros & Cons

Advantages of Electroporation

  • Non-chemical/biologic method that doesn’t seem to alter the biological structure or function of the target cells
  • Easy to perform
  • High efficiency
  • Can be applied to a wide range of cell types

Disadvantages of Electroporation

  • Cell mortality (if using suboptimal conditions)

Currently, electroporation is gaining increasing attention. Its easy operation and lack of restrictions on probe or cell type are two major benefits of this non-viral delivery method. With this technology, we are seeing the delivery of less invasive treatment methods that also allow for better patient safety and overall wellbeing. I believe electroporation is quickly becoming a focal point for discovery, in the biotech industry. The applications for this technology are only going to expand, from here.

ImmunoPulse Diagram