Plasma effective in killing cancer cells
A new plasma method has been discovered that can induce rapid, effective — even violent — cancer-cell death.
Plasma makes up the sun and stars and is the most common state of matter in the universe.
In recent years, cold atmospheric plasma, an ionized gas close to room temperature, has been recognized as a novel, promising anti-cancer treatment that inhibits cancer growth with less damage to normal cells.
Researchers at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science under the Chinese Academy of Sciences found the CAP therapy can induce pyroptosis, also called fiery cell death, which is triggered by inflammation molecules.
Rather than slowing the growth and spread of cancer, the plasma method kills cancer cells more rapidly and aggressively than other radiation therapies, said lead researcher Han Wei.
“After CAP delivers its cancer-killing power to a cancer cell, it will activate a GSDME protein that can function as a knife that pokes holes in the cell membrane,” Han said. “When the membrane ruptures, the cancer cell will die.”
The fiery death of cancer cells can also initiate an alarm signal, allowing the immune system to recognize cancer cells and kill them as invaders.
The results of the study were published in the international journal Cell Death and Disease.