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Towards plasma for cancer treatment: investigation of alterations in the DNA damage response due to plasma treatment in glioblastoma multiforme as tumour model.

Recently, a new approach based on non-thermal plasma (NTP) to treat cancer cells is gaining interest in the medical field. Plasma is an ionized gas. It is a highly reactive mixture, containing electrons, ions, radicals and energetic neutrals, while still operating at room temperature. Precisely this combination of reactive species and low gas temperature makes it suitable for treating biological samples. It is suggested that the killing capacity of plasma is related to the formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). Moreover, previous research showed that plasma can selectively kill cancer cells over healthy cells, which is an advantage over traditional treatment methods, such as radio- and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, little is known about the actual working mechanism, or selectivity, making it difficult to convince pharmaceutical collaborators to invest in this technique and develop it into a valuable treatment option for cancer. During this research, I will investigate the anti-cancer capacity of NTP, which RONS are responsible, and how NTP alters the DNA damage response (DDR) of cancer cells. The latter is a collection of mechanisms that are activated whenever DNA damage is detected in order to repair it. This is interesting because (a) plasma is shown to induce DNA damage, and (b) it is known that the DDR of cancer cells is already partially compromised, making it a valuable oncological target. I will use a brain tumour, glioblastoma multiforme, as model.
Date:1 Jan 2017 →  17 Sep 2017
Disciplines:Applied mathematics in specific fields, Classical physics, Physics of gases, plasmas and electric discharges, Biochemistry and metabolism, Medical biochemistry and metabolism, Morphological sciences, Oncology