School of Mines zapping cancer cells with cold plasma

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Students and professors at South Dakota School of Mines are studying a drug-free treatment, hoping to improve the quality of life for cancer patients.

School of Mines students, Nicole Miller and Jordan Hoops, are working together in hopes of discovering a drug-free cancer treatment.

“Everybody knows someone who’s had cancer and we know the impact chemo has so if we eventually get this where it works really well than it would just be amazing for us,” Nicole Miller, Senior Mechanical Engineering student at SDSMT, said.

It is a targeted technique with two important things. Cold plasma and electroporation.

They will shoot the cold plasma directly at the cancer cells through pores on the skin.

“A lot of therapies, kind of a systemic approach, you’re taking medicine and it’s affecting the whole body. This way, what we are looking at is more of a targeted approach so we can affect the cancer without having some of those side affects that are associated with cancer therapy,” Timothy Brenza, Ast. Prof. of Chemical and Biological Engineering at SDSMT, said.

Assistant professor Timothy Brenza says lung cancer has not seen as many improvements as other forms of the disease. That’s why the students are using lung cancer cells.

“My research is on pulmonary drug delivery. I have different human lung cell lines that I work with. So with these treatments we are looking for these cell lines to use in these treatments. So we just pulled my cells in and started working with them,” Jordan Hoops, PHD student in Chemical and Biological Engineering at SDSMT, said.

This process is a collaboration between science and mechanical engineering.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity for us both, because I think at most schools you don’t even get the chance to do the research that we are doing, let alone work with cancer cells, Miller said.

You can stay updated on this project on their website.

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