The “new contribution” of helium in the medical industry

NRNU MEPhI scientists have learned how to use cold plasma in biomedicine NRNU MEPhI researchers, together with colleagues from other science centres, are investigating the possibility of using cold plasma for the diagnosis and treatment of bacterial and viral diseases and wound healing. This development will be the basis for the creation of innovative high-tech medical devices. Cold plasmas are collections or flows of charged particles that are generally electrically neutral and have sufficiently low atomic and ionic temperatures, for example, near room temperature. Meanwhile, the so-called electron temperature, which corresponds to the level of excitation or ionization of plasma species, can reach several thousand degrees.

The effect of cold plasma can be used in medicine – as a topical agent, it is relatively safe for the human body. He noted that if necessary, the cold plasma can produce very significant localized oxidation, such as cauterization, and in other modes, it can trigger restorative healing mechanisms. Chemical free radicals can be used to act directly on open skin surfaces and wounds, through plasma jets generated by engineered compact plasma tubes, or indirectly by exciting environmental molecules such as air. Meanwhile, the plasma torch initially uses a weak flow of completely safe inert gas – helium or argon, and the thermal power generated can be controlled from a single unit to tens of watts.

The work used an open atmospheric pressure plasma, the source of which scientists have been actively developing in recent years. A continuous gas stream at atmospheric pressure can be ionized while ensuring that it is removed to the required distance, from a few millimeters to tens of centimeters, to bring the ionized neutral volume of matter to the required depth to some target area (e.g. , the patient’s skin area).

Viktor Tymoshenko emphasized: “We use helium as the main gas, which allows us to minimize unwanted oxidation processes. Unlike many similar developments in Russia and abroad, in the plasma torches we use , the generation of cold helium plasma is not accompanied by the formation of ozone, but at the same time provides a pronounced and controllable therapeutic effect.” Using this new method, the scientists hope to treat primarily bacterial diseases. According to them, cold plasma therapy can also easily remove viral contamination and accelerate wound healing. It is hoped that in the future, with the help of new methods, it will be possible to treat tumor diseases. “Today we’re only talking about a very superficial effect, about topical use. In the future, the technology could be developed to penetrate deeper into the body, for example through the respiratory system. So far, we’re doing in vitro tests, when our plasma when the jet interacts directly with small amounts of liquid or other model biological objects,” said the scientific team leader.

Post time: Oct-26-2022