Coulter BME Research Seminar

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"High Frequency Irreversible Electroporation for the Treatment of Glioblastoma"

Rafael V. Davalos, Ph.D.*
L. Preston Wade Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics
Virginia Tech

Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) is a minimally invasive surgical therapy we invented to treat unresectable tumors using low-energy microsecond pulses. IRE is unique among tissue ablation techniques in affecting only the cell membrane while tissue molecules, everything encompassing collagen structures to proteins; remain intact, thereby making treatment near critical structures such as major blood vessels and nerves possible. This form of cancer therapy received the Expedited Pathway Designation in 2018 and has been used to help thousands of patients worldwide. We are developing an advanced form of the technology, high frequency irreversible electroporation (HFIRE) for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). This new therapy preferentially targets cancer cells over healthy cells, transiently disrupts the blood-brain barrier for delivery of therapeutics, and induces a positive immune response.  Our preclinical work focuses on helping canine patients with naturally occurring GBM, which are excellent translational models of human GBM. Results of our ongoing trials have been extremely positive, supporting that HFIRE is effective for the treatment of GBM, including tumors refractory to surgery, radio- and chemotherapies.  Additionally, I will discuss our use of biotransport principles to develop licensed technologies with applications in rare cell isolation, medical device design, and focal cancer therapy.

Rafael V. Davalos is an Endowed Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of the Virginia Tech ICTAS Center for Engineered Health and Co-Leader of the Signaling and Biotechnology Program within the Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research interests are in microfluidics for personalized medicine and developing technologies for cancer therapy. Davalos has authored 137 peer-reviewed articles and 17 book chapters, and has 37 issued patents.  He has been a plenary speaker for several prestigious venues including the International Symposium of the Bioelectrochemistry Society, the World Congress on Electroporation, and the Society of Cryobiology Annual Meeting.  Davalos is an ASME and AIMBE Fellow and recipient of the 2021 ASME Van C. Mow Medal. Dr. Davalos received his bachelor’s from Cornell University and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Joshua Stewart
  • Created:03/30/2022
  • Modified By:Joshua Stewart
  • Modified:03/30/2022


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