Rafael DavalosDavalos  RCGM PictureInvestigator: Dr. Rafael Davalos (Virginia Tech)

Co-investigator: Dr. Robert C.G. Martin, II (University of Louisville)

Disease: Pancreatic Cancer

Research Description: Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a non-thermal, focused procedure that relies on the delivery of short, yet intense, electrical pulses to destroy the target tissue. These pulses damage the cell membrane, which in turn kills the cells. IRE is ideally suited to treat patients with tumors that cannot be removed via surgery (unresectable), because it destroys the tumor without damaging the surrounding tissue. The use of IRE has been shown to dramatically improve the lifespan of thousands of patients suffering from unresectable prostate, liver, pancreatic and adrenal cancers. This clinical project will use an IRE device to treat pancreatic cancer patients and will track the immune response to this IRE treatment. The IRE treatment will be optimized to increase the immune response in patients, which then could be used to help fight the cancer. Results from this study will be used to effectively combine IRE with immunotherapy in subsequent studies, with the hope of improving patient outcomes in pancreatic cancer.

CWR funding role: Primary funder

Start date: November 2016

Most recent report: Tests on human pancreatic cancer cells to establish the optimal levels of IRE treatment are expected to begin before the end of 2016. 

Anticipated next steps:

→ Data published in a scientific journal and/or presented at a scientific conference→ Data leveraged into larger philanthropic or government funding for this treatment

→ Data leveraged into larger philanthropic or government funding for this treatment

→ Findings from project lead to additional discoveries for future testing

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