Irreversible Electroporation

Mount Sinai surgeons are always searching for new ways to treat cancer through research and clinical trials. We are now using irreversible electroporation (IRE) to treat several types of cancerous tumors successfully.

About Irreversible Electroporation

Used in addition to and along with surgery, IRE is a new technology that destroys cancerous tumors with short electrical pulses without thermal heat. The main advantage of IRE is that we can administer it safely to tumors that are near critical parts of your body without doing damage to healthy organs or tissue.

In administering IRE, we insert one or more thin probes into the tumor and deliver short electrical pulses into the tumor. This step causes disruption of the pores located within the cancer cell membranes, interfering with the cellular function of the cancer.  This causes irreversible damage which leads to cell death and tumor necrosis.

Mount Sinai’s surgical oncologists were among the first in New York City to adopt IRE. We have extensive training in using this innovative technology. 

Conditions We Treat

IRE is particularly valuable in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, since pancreatic tumors can be resistant to chemotherapy and other modes of therapy.

At Mount Sinai, our surgical oncologists consider IRE in various clinical situations, such as:

  • Margin accentuation for resectable tumors—when removing a pancreatic tumor surgically, it is crucial to remove the tumor entirely without leaving any portion of the cancer behind. When tumors are located near major blood vessels, there can be a risk of involving healthy body parts located along the edges or margins of the tumor. By using IRE before performing surgery, our surgical oncologists destroy the tumor, making it easier to remove it without doing damage to healthy tissue.
  • Ablation for non-resectable tumors—we also use IRE as a complement to chemotherapy and radiation when tumors cannot be removed surgically. Using IRE, Mount Sinai's surgeons are able to add a novel treatment to help destroy tumors.