Study Finds that Cold Plasma Can Heal Non-healing Wounds

Cold Plasma Heal Non-healing WoundsCold atmospheric-pressure plasma can be used to treat non-healing wounds. In fact, non-healing wounds are very difficult to treat. As per the U.S. National Institutes of Health, chronic wounds currently affect 6.5 million people in the U.S. If left untreated, chronic wounds can lead to loss of limbs or even death. Upon admission to a hospital, healthcare providers should assess the patient and the wound accurately, and document the details to develop an appropriate plan of care. Wound management software helps in better documentation of the wound, which in turn results in better patient outcome.

The good news is that researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), and Gamaleya Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Russia, have discovered a way to use non-thermal or cold plasma to develop a therapy program for patients with non-healing wounds. Cold plasma is an ionized gas at room temperature that is created by electric discharge. It is the fourth state of matter. In fact, cold plasma treatment is a contact-free and painless procedure to sterilize wounds and promote wound healing. The treatment costs are comparable to or less expensive than those of standard antimicrobial wound treatment.

Non-healing wounds commonly occur in people with damaged blood vessels, immune system failure or slow cell division, diabetes or more challenging illnesses. Conventional treatment methods for non-healing wounds are often difficult and ineffective. Earlier studies have demonstrated the bactericidal properties of cold plasma with results indicating it may have the potential to be utilized in wound healing. The research team therefore aimed to investigate the effects of cold plasma on wound healing by applying three regimens of cold plasma to fibroblasts and keratinocytes: a single treatment, double treatment with a 48 hr interval, and daily treatments over the period of 3 days. The outcome was that the fibroblast samples treated with single and double cold plasma applications showed a 42.6 and 32.0% increase in the number of cells, when compared with the untreated controls. The researchers also observed an increased number of cells in the active phases of the cell cycle alongside a prolonged growth phase (30 hours). However, no signs of DNA breaks were detected following plasma application. These results mean that the effect of plasma could be characterized as regenerative as opposed to harmful.

The cell samples that received daily treatment showed a reduction in proliferation by 29.1% when compared with the controls and the keratinocyte samples did not show noticeable changes in proliferation. The researchers also conducted an assay of the senescence-associated beta- galactosidase (β-galactosidase) which is measured at pH 6.0. This enzyme concentration in a cell increases with age. In fact, the plasma therapy greatly reduced the content of this substance in the samples. This, together with a prolonged exponential growth phase of the culture, suggests a functional activation of cells, their rejuvenation. Dr.Elena Petersen, of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology said that, “The positive response to plasma treatment that we observed could be linked to the activation of a natural destructive mechanism called autophagy, which removes damaged organelles from the cell and reactivates cellular metabolic processes.” The scientists are planning to conduct further research to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of plasma on cells. They also intend to determine the potential influence of an individual’s age on the effectiveness of cold plasma therapy.

Cold plasma treatment can also be used for treating burn wounds. The Medical Xpress reported the case of a young woman who was suffering from severe burns. Cold plasma was applied to her wounds, and it killed all bacteria in the wound within minutes. The treatment was very effective and it was able to save the patient’s life.

Medical advancements such cold plasma treatment are great options to heal non-healing wounds, and documentation of the wound using a reliable Wound EMR can help improve treatment outcomes.