Cold plasma against chronic wounds
Many people suffer from chronic wounds. Conventional treatment methods for these wounds, which often do not heal for years, include the use of steroids and antibiotics. Steroid treatment, however, is often associated with serious side-effects such as high blood pressure or osteoporosis, while antibiotics can lead to the development of resistant bacteria. A team of researchers led by Gregor E. Morfill, the former Director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, has developed a new approach to treatment, however: originally, they were researching plasma in space as well as plasma crystals, the latter also being researched on the international space station (ISS), and recognised the potential of cold plasma for medical applications. They therefore developed various prototypes of plasma devices which allow bacteria, including multi-resistant ones, fungi and viruses to be killed. The devices generate electric fields which excite or ionise molecules in the surrounding air using discharges. Normally, this process is associated with high temperatures and very high or very low pressures. In this case, however, the plasma is at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, and is referred to as cold atmospheric plasma. This plasma is a highly diluted mixture of excited and charged atoms and molecules ("ions"), but also free radicals. If a plasma device is held over an open wound on the body, the plasma flows over the wound like a breath of air and kills bacteria in the wound area contactlessly and painlessly.
In order to develop a practical product, terraplasma medical was founded in 2016. In 2019, plasma care® received market approval. The handy and mobile medical device is used for the treatment of wounds, especially chronic wounds. Cold plasma treatment does not damage human tissue, reduces the use of antibiotics or steroids and does not cause allergic side effects or pain. The plasma care® product series inactivates bacteria including multi-resistant pathogens, viruses, fungi and spores. At the same time, it activates the healing process. More than 30,000 successful wound treatments (as of 2023) have already been carried out with the mobile plasma care®.