Hepatocellular carcinoma ablation and possible immunity in the age of nanosecond pulsed electric fields
Stephen J Beebe
Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA
The liver, the largest internal organ in the body, is stationed between us and everything that enters our gastrointestinal tract. Among the many roles of the liver (digestion, metabolism, storage, and production), filtration, detoxification, and immunity are major functions that shelter us from the storm of potential toxins, harmful metabolites, and microorganisms that enter the liver through the hepatic portal vein. There is sometimes a price to pay for this cleansing service, but the liver is a forgiving organ. It can regenerate itself, and when one "unit" is damaged, other units take over. The liver can suffer extensive impairment before it malfunctions and presents symptoms. These absolving liver characteristics are major causes for morbidity and mortality in liver disease. While there are hundreds of liver diseases, major ones that lead to liver cancer and, specifically, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are chronic syndromes, such as hepatitis, excessive chronic alcohol consumption, metabolic syndrome, and obesity/diabetes. The single most common cause of liver disease and HCC in the USA is the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which infects nearly 4 million people.1 Under such harsh circumstances, the "merciful" and tolerant liver is progressively damaged and scarred as liver cancer progresses, before warning signs appear.
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