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Plasma Medicine
SJR: 0.271 SNIP: 0.316 CiteScore™: 1.9

ISSN Imprimir: 1947-5764
ISSN On-line: 1947-5772

Plasma Medicine

DOI: 10.1615/PlasmaMed.2012004184
pages 249-263

Selectivity of Non-Thermal Atmospheric-Pressure Microsecond-Pulsed Dielectric Barrier Discharge Plasma Induced Apoptosis in Tumor Cells over Healthy Cells

Sameer Kalghatgi
Crystal Kelly
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Ekaterina Cerchar
Department of Surgery, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Jane Azizkhan-Clifford
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Non-thermal plasma is now being widely investigated for various clinical applications ranging from surface sterilization to blood coagulation to wound healing to cancer therapy. We have shown previously that reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by non-thermal dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma in the medium surrounding the cells induce DNA damage in mammalian cells, and by tuning the dose, plasma has various effects, from enhancing proliferation to inducing apoptosis in cancer cells.1–3 Although non-thermal plasma primarily produces ROS extracellularly, we hypothesize that it can induce apoptosis in malignant cells similar to ionizing radiation or photodynamic therapy, which primarily produce ROS intracellularly. Unlike ionizing radiation, which damages healthy tissue surrounding the malignant tissue,4,5 or photodynamic therapy, which causes scarring and burning of nearby healthy tissue, non-thermal plasma, due to its non-penetrating nature, may provide a safer means to induce selective apoptosis in malignant tissue by providing precise control of treatment area and depth.

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