Researchers Use Cold Plasma to kill Cancer Cells

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Plasma creates toxic molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage cancer cells and leave healthy cells unharmed.

Cancer is a complex disorder that can relapse even after hefty surgeries, due to remaining traces. Researchers have now found a new approach to deal with these remains- with the help of a cold atmospheric plasma system. Moreover, this novel system has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Plasma is the most common form of ordinary matter and is often in extremely hot state. However, it can be created at low temperature for use by partly ionizing a gas namely helium. Cold plasma has been used previously to kill-off bacteria on medical equipment, wounds, and human skin along with removing the smell of deep fryers and treating ice.

This cold plasma has been found to be effective in animals and cultured cells as a cancer killer. It has been observed that plasma creates toxic molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage cancer cells and leave healthy cells unharmed. As cancer cells are already highly oxidized, ROS elevates it beyond the safety level and eventually kills them. Researchers from US Medical Innovations LLC and Jerome Canady Research Institute for Advanced Biological and Technological Sciences have tested a prototype device called Canady Helios Cold Plasma System and Scalpel.

It is made of a cold plasma generator, which is connected to an electrosurgical scalpel-like pen that sprays a blue jet of cold plasma from the tip. Multiple tests showed that exposing cancer cells to this spray for two to seven minutes kills cancer cells completely, leaving healthy cells alone. As FDA has approved this device, it will be used for a phase 1 clinical trial of 20 patients. Although cold plasma would not replace the existing method of cancer treatment, it would work as a companion to clean up residual cells. The clinical trials will take place in September 2019.

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About Author

Bill Carr is a Senior Editor at Plains Gazette, based in Austin. Previously he has worked for FOX Sports and MSNBC's "Morning Joe." he is a graduate of the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. You can reach Bill via email or by phone