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The selective anti-cancer effect of cold atmospheric plasma, chemical v.s. physical treatment Open Access

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The cold atmospheric plasma (CAP), a near room temperature ionized gas, has shown potential application in many branches of medicine, particularly in cancer treatment. In previous studies, the biological effect of CAP on cancer cells and other mammalian cells has been regarded only due to the chemical effect in CAP, particularly the reactive species. The plasma medicine has been regarded as the reactive species medicine. The physical factors in CAP, mainly including the thermal effect, ultraviolet irradiation, and electromagnetic effect has been regarded as the ignorable factors. In this study, I investigated the effect of a physically-based CAP treatment on glioblastoma cells and normal astrocytes. It is found at positive selectivity anti-glioblastoma cells. In contrast, the conventional CAP treatment based on reactive species will cause a very strong negative selectivity on glioblastoma cells. The astrocytes are very sensitive to the cytotoxicity of reactive species rather than the physical factors during the CAP treatment. Such positive selectivity is due to a new cell death on the physically-based CAP treatment, a necrosis characterized by the leak of bulk water from the cell membrane of the CAP-treated glioblastoma cells. Such necrosis is a new cell death, which has never found in plasma medicine before.

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