Electrolysis is a process where direct electric current is passed through a medium to drive a chemical reaction. Electrolysis in biological tissues has been studied through the process of tissue ablation. In oncology, treatments based on electrolysis are seeing light of the day and here, we present an analysis and characterization of electrolytic systems for biomedical applications, particularly in the treatment of liver and brain cancers. We present two variations of electrolytic systems, the first is a technique based on local electrolytic ablation of tissue explored in implantable format. We designed an implantable microscale device based on the principle of electrolytic ablation as a treatment strategy for deep-seated tumors in the liver. The treatment is carried forward by the supply of direct current to cause electrolysis of tumor mass and its destruction thereby through the pH change caused at the electrode-tissue interface. A pH below 6 and above 9 is deemed to be lethal for cells and such a large pH variation intolerance is the mechanism of destruction. The extent of tissue destruction by this minimally invasive technique depends on several factors the most important of them being time for therapy and amount of electrical current passed into the tissue. Non-invasive techniques provide clinicians with new tools to perform localized electrolytic ablation as an outpatient procedure using a wireless triggered micro-ablator for life-threatening deep-seated large tumors in the liver and pancreas. Ablation progress may be monitored via image-guided technology like MRI and ultrasound. The second variation is an implantable electrophoretic drug delivery strategy for Glioblastoma Multiforme, a deadly brain cancer. Using electrophoretic force, clinically relevant charged drugs may be transported to achieve effective concentration in the brain post surgical resection. In this strategy called in vivo brain electrophoresis, we present implantable electro-fluidic electrodes, a tool the neurosurgeon may use for drug delivery. Characterization of these electrodes and the issues encountered and overcome by novel flushable electrode design are presented.
Tejasvi Parupudi is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Purdue University in West Lafayette. He has been working in the research area of Biomedical microdevices since 2013. He has worked on diverse projects such as design and fabrication of paper-based sensors for wound healing, drug delivery systems using rapid prototyping techniques, implantable device design for electrochemical tumor treatment and roll-to-roll manufacturing of biosensors and transistors. He is interested in electric-field based therapies for cancer treatment and big data enabled healthcare applications for third world countries. His talk is primarily about his PhD research on Alternate electric field based treatments for cancer, where he explores the use of implantable flushable electrodes for brain tumors and an ultrasound activated implantable device for liver tumors. During his Masters, he developed a module for the electrical characterization of samples using AFM at the multi-um scale. His other research interests include empathy based design thinking for solving global grand challenges related to agriculture and health and leadership through social entrepreneurship. When he is not working on projects, you can find him growing vegetables at the garden or practicing music.