Academic Editor: Angelo Facchiano
Background: Pulsed ultraviolet (UV) irradiation can be used to generate a broad UV-C spectrum. The pulsing nature of such a spectrum helps increase the damage to cancer cells, leading to their injury and death. In contrast, non-tumor cells repair the damage and survive the same pulsed UV irradiation energy. Herein, we describe the development of a pulsed UV irradiation method for cancer cell dysfunction that irradiates cells with pulsed light by generating tremendous instantaneous UV energy—tens of thousands of times greater than that generated by UV lamps—to cause specific cell injury and dysfunction of cancer cells. Methods: A newly developed pulsed ultraviolet irradiation device was used. Features of the device used in this study. This device employs a quartz discharge xenon lamp. Cultured tumor cells and non-tumor cells were irradiated with pulsed light at different irradiation doses, and their reactions were observed using optical, electron, and laser microscopes. Results: Cancer cells have more FAS (CD95) receptor domains than non-cancer cells, and pulsed UV irradiation stimulates the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and OH, which exceeds the oxidative stress removal function, resulting in cell injury and death. That is, at low UV doses, only cancer cells underwent cell death, whereas non-cancer cells did not. The pulsed UV irradiation technique directly destroys cancer cells and minimizes the number of residual cancer cells while allowing minimum invasion into non-tumor cells, thereby improving their survival. This suggests the possibility of activating the host’s local immune response to eliminate residual cancer cells. Conclusions: A newly developed pulsed UV radiation system shows potential for use in the development of a drug-free cancer treatment system that selectively kills tumor cells by irradiating them with high-intensity pulsed UV rays over a broad UV-C range of 230–280 nm.