A novel treatment technique called irreversible electroporation (IRE) can be used to kill tumor cells without damaging nearby tissues. The method works by creating tiny holes in the membranes surrounding cancer cells using ultrafast electrical pulses. Leakage through the holes destroys the chemical balance in the tumor cells and kills them. In a recent study, researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City used IRE to treat 25 patients with a range of cancers, including lung cancer, that had spread beyond the original site. The tumors were located near sensitive, important structures like major blood vessels. This made conventional tumor removal impossible, since such techniques, including surgery or heating/freezing (thermal ablation), can damage tissues near the tumor. All patients were treated with IRE without major complications, suggesting that the method is safe enough to be investigated in large clinical trials.