A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research
October 8, 2014,
4:00pm to 5:30pm

MBG Auditorium

COLLOQUIUM: Plasma Mediated Effects on Biological Cells

Professor Mounir Laroussi
Old Dominion University

Low temperature plasma (LTP) in air-containing gas mixtures produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as O, O2-, and OH and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) such as NO and NO2 which exhibit strong oxidative properties and/or trigger signaling pathways in biological cells. For example oxidation of the lipids and proteins that constitute the membrane of biological cells leads to the loss of their functions. In such environment bacterial cells were found to die in minutes or even seconds. Plasmas were also found to be an effective method to control the proliferation of biofilms which can be resistant to chemicals found in detergents and even to antibiotics.

Under low power and short exposure time conditions LTPs appear to cause little damage to living animal and plant tissues. Having different structures and morphologies, bacterial and mammalian cells exhibit different responses to physical and chemical stresses. For example, skin fibroblast cells are found to remain viable or even proliferate under plasma conditions that can be lethal to bacterial cells. The proliferation of fibroblasts is an important step in the wound healing process. The ability of plasma to kill bacteria and to accelerate the proliferation of specific tissue cells opened up the possibility to use plasma for the healing of chronic wounds such as diabetic ulcers. Tens of thousands of amputations occur every year in the US alone because of the inability of present medical methods to heal chronic wounds.

LTPs can induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in mammalian cells. This opened up the possibility to use plasma technology to kill cancerous cells. Apoptosis, which is programmed cell death, does not lead to the release of toxins from dead cells. This is a very desirable outcome since cell death by apoptosis does not cause inflammation or contamination of the surrounding cells and tissues with compromised cell contents. Recent experiments have shown that LTP preferentially kills cancer cells. Various cancer cell lines have been investigated ranging from adherent cells such as in the casecarcinoma to non-adherent cells such as in the case of leukemia.
The above applications ushered a new transformational approach to healthcare referred to as Plasma Medicine. In this presentation background work as well as recent results both in fundamental understanding and applications will be discussed.

Colloquium Committee: 

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2017-2018 Colloquium Committee is comprised of the following people. Please feel free to contact them by e-mail regarding any possible speakers or topics for future colloquia.

Carol Ann Austin, caustin@pppl.gov
Nathaniel Ferraro, nferraro@pppl.gov
Charles A Gentile, cgentile@pppl.gov
Masayuki Ono, mono@pppl.gov
Tori Sikkema, tsikkema@pppl.gov

  • Carol Ann Austin 609-243-2484

U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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