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ODU's Laroussi Helps Lead Worldwide Plasma Oncology Conference

Pioneering Old Dominion University engineering professor Mounir Laroussi recently helped lead the fourth International Workshop on Plasma for Cancer Treatment (IWPCT), at the world-renowned Curie Cancer Institute in Paris.

IWPCT focuses on basic and clinical research into the interaction of low temperature plasmas (LTP) with cancer cells and tumors.

Laroussi, whose plasma "pencil" has achieved worldwide attention for its potential to kill various cancer cell lines, co-founded the conference four years ago as a venue for researchers to present cutting-edge findings on the application of LTP in cancer treatment, or "plasma oncology."

Previous IWPCT conferences have been held in Washington and Nagoya, Japan.

Laroussi, director of Old Dominion's Plasma Engineering and Medicine Institute and professor of electrical and computer engineering with the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, chaired the International Scientific Committee of the workshop. More than 100 attendees representing research labs from around the world presented research that showed how LTPs affect cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue.

As part of his research into atmospheric plasma, Laroussi developed the plasma "pencil," a hand-held device that emits a stream of LTP.

Since 2011, using the plasma pencil, Laroussi's group has carried out successful experiments on cancer cell lines, including those associated with leukemia, prostate cancer and carcinoma.

The miniature light saber has been featured in a broad array of popular media, including National Geographic, as well as professional publications.

The articles have noted its germ-killing applications and the ease of use. In the past few years, the ODU professor of electrical and computer engineering has collaborated with scientists at the university to study how the plasma that shoots from his hand-held pencil can kill diseased cells and bacteria.

The results from these investigations have been published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals.

Laroussi's research on the application of low temperature plasma to cancer was highlighted in the July 2016 issue of Virginia Business magazine. Laroussi was also appointed an associate editor of a new IEEE medical journal, the IEEE Transactions on Radiation and Plasma Medical Sciences.

Recently the Institute of Physics celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Journal of Physics series by publishing a collection of "viewpoints" articles written by top senior scientists. These articles look back on the last 50 years and highlight important achievements in physics. Two of these articles mention Laroussi's achievements. One discusses his development of a novel plasma reactor called "the resistive barrier discharge" in 2002, and the second highlights the emergence of plasma medicine, a field in which Laroussi is recognized as a pioneer and a leader.

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