Solid tumors represent 85 percent of all cancers, creating a huge clinical need for localized, site-specific cancer treatment. Inovio Medical Corporation of San Diego is developing DNA-based vaccines that harness the body’s immune system to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as cancer and HIV. Their technology uses electroporation therapy, in which an electric field applied to a cell causes the cell’s outer membrane to become temporarily porous and permeable. The pores close minutes later, trapping the therapeutic molecules within the cell. This technology aims to selectively kill cancer cells while preserving healthy tissue. The company, which is in the early stages of the market approval process, has partnerships with pharmaceutical giants Merck and Wyeth. Related video: Michael Fons, VP, Corporate Development at Inovio.