Dr Dayun Yan introduces his latest research into the promising field of using a plasma-stimulated medium (PSM) for treatment of Glioblastoma multiforme (World Health Organization grade IV astrocytoma), the most lethal brain tumor in adults :
My story with cold plasma started three years ago, the beginning of my PhD training, under the supervision of Dr Keidar at George Washington University. The anti-cancer mechanism of cold plasma has already been intensively investigated. Most researchers in this field concluded that the death (mainly apoptosis) of the cold plasma-treated cancer cells was due to the significant rise of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) after treatment.
I wanted to contribute some novel work in this field. I discovered the medium we use to cover cancer cells during the cold plasma treatment played a key intermediate role. Simply treating the cell culture medium is able to generate similar anti-cancer effects as the direct cold plasma treatment on cancerous cells. This finding may provide a novel strategy in using cold plasma.
Since then, our research group (me, Niki, Dr Sherman and Dr Keidar) have systematically investigated the role of components in the medium and other physical factors in the anti-cancer capacity of the cold plasma-stimulated media (PSM).
First, we found that fetal bovine serum, a common component in medium, actually protect the cancerous cells from the attack of the plasma-originated reactive species. Second, we significantly enhanced the anti-glioblastoma effect of the PSM by adding 20 mM of lysine, providing a very cheap strategy to synergistically use other methods with cold plasma during future cancer treatment (See figure 1).
We further demonstrated several principles to enhance the PSM by controlling several physical parameters during plasma treatment. Most recently, we discovered that the degradation mechanism of PSM during storage was mainly due to the reaction between reactive species, cysteine, and methionine in the medium. Currently, we are trying to understand the selective anti-cancer capacity of cold plasma through the aquaporin-model I proposed last year.
We hope cold plasma could become a clinical anti-cancer tool in the near future, and we are ready to accelerate such a process.
You can also read this group’s previous JPhysD article on gold nanoparticles and cold plasma for cancer therapy.
This research was carried out at the Micropropulsion and Nanotechnology Laboratory, George Washington University.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Figure 1 taken from Dayun Yan et al 2016 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 49 274001. Copyright IOP Publishing, All Rights Reserved.
Categories: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics