Characterization of cellular and sub-cellular effects of ultrashort electric pulses

Experimental evidences have shown the effectiveness of ultrashort electric pulses for gene and drug delivery, for cancer therapy and apoptosis induction. These applications are a result of a selective permeabilization of the plasma and intracellular membranes, with effects depending on pulse duration and intensity, on cell type, although the action mechanisms justifying selective interaction with cellular structures require adequate investigation. In this context, the activity at IREA is focused on characterization of the effects on plasma membrane, nucleus and organelles to give insight into interaction mechanisms. For this purpose, flow cytometry, molecular cytogenetic techiques (Comet Assay) and real time measurements by confocal microscopy are currently employed.