Patients battling the blood cancer leukemia could one day receive a new type of treatment that uses a plasma — a gas of electrically charged particles — to kill cancer cells while keeping the healthy cells intact, according to new research.
“We have a really amazing device,” said Mounir Laroussi, director of the laser and plasma engineering institute at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., “We can generate a beam of plasma that is around room temperature. It doesn’t burn anything; it doesn’t destroy or poke holes. You can touch it with your hand.”
After 10 minutes of treatment with the cold-plasma blowtorch, over 90 percent of leukemia cells were destroyed, according to the study published by Laroussi and research scientist Nazir Barekzi in October in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.