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Destruction of cancer cells by laser-induced shock waves: Recent developments in experimental treatments and multiscale computer simulations

: Steinhauser, M.; Schmidt, M.


Soft matter 10 (2014), Nr.27, S.4778-4788
ISSN: 1744-683X
ISSN: 1744-6848
Fraunhofer EMI ()

In this emerging area article we review recent progress in the mechanical destruction of cancer cells using laser-induced shock waves. The pure mechanical damaging and destruction of cancer cells associated with this technique possibly opens up a new route to tumor treatments and the corresponding therapies. At the same time progress in multiscale simulation techniques makes it possible to simulate mechanical properties of soft biological matter such as membranes, cytoskeletal networks and even whole cells and tissue. In this way an interdisciplinary approach to understanding key mechanisms in shock wave interactions with biological matter has become accessible. Mechanical properties of biological materials are also critical for many physiological processes and cover length scales ranging from the atomistic to the macroscopic scale. We argue that the latest developments and progress in experimentation enable the investigation of the shock wave interaction with cancer cells on multiple time- and length-scales. In this way the integrated use of experiment and simulation can address key challenges in this field. The exploration of the biological effects of laser-generated shock waves on a fundamental level constitutes an emerging multidisciplinary research area combining scientific methods from the areas of physics, biology, medicine and computer science.