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Reactive molecules ("free radicals") mediate the biological plasma effect. In doing so, they intervene in so-called "redox" processes of cells. The molecules produced by the plasma are the same molecules that are created in physiological processes in the body's own cells and even act as signal molecules there. Which cell response is triggered depends on the cellular enzyme equipment and the quality and quantity of the species released by the plasma. In many diseases such as cancer, for example, the cellular enzyme composition is altered. Plasma treatments can have a therapeutic effect here.

The Junior Research Group "Plasma Redox Effects" conducts basic research at the interface of different research disciplines. These include redox biology, plasma medicine, oncology and immunology. They work with tumor and immune cells in two- and three-dimensional cell culture models, primary cells, animal models and patient samples.
Advanced stages of cancer pose two challenges for patients and physicians. On the one hand, cancer cells scatter throughout the body (metastasis), which are difficult for many therapies to reach, causing over 90% of cancer deaths. Secondly, these cancer cells actively down-regulate recognition by immune cells. The junior research group is investigating to what extent plasma treatment can make cancer cells visible to the immune system. This leads to the development of cancer-fighting immune cells that are effective throughout the body. The principle is already known from other forms of therapy in which reactive species are also produced. Whether plasma plays a role in the establishment of antitumor immune responses is being investigated in skin cancer models, among other things.