Cold atmospheric plasma as a treatment for eczema

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Cold atmospheric plasma is considered a possible treatment for a number of conditions. Olivier BERRY/500px/Getty Images
  • Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, affects approximately 3% of adults and 20% of children worldwide.
  • Researchers from the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences used a mouse model to show that cold atmospheric plasma (CAC) was a potential treatment for atopic dermatitis with little or no side effects.
  • Experts see CAP as having “lots of promise” as a future treatment option.

atopic dermatitis — also known as eczema — is a chronic skin condition that affects approximately 3% of adults and 20% of children worldwide.

There is currently no cure for atopic dermatitis. Instead, doctors treat disease symptoms and provide medications to help prevent flare-ups.

Now, a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Plasma Physics says cold atmospheric plasma may be added to the list of treatment options for this skin condition.

This study, which used a mouse model, was recently published in the journal Frontiers in immunology.

As any science teacher will tell you, there are three main states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas.

Plasma is considered the fourth state of matter and is achieved when a gas is heated to the point that its particles become ionized or charged.

Scientists believe that 99% of all matter in the known universe — besides Earth — is actually plasma. For example, the sun and flash are made of plasma.

Plasma can also be generated at relatively low temperatures. This “cold” atmospheric plasma (PAC) is plasma generated at temperatures below 40°C (104°F).

PAC was first used in medicine in the 1960s as a sterilization method. In the 1990s, the medical community began using CAP as a treatment for various conditions. Today, researchers turn to CAP to:

According to Dr. Guohua Ni, lead author of the new study and a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Plasma Physics, the main goal of recent research was to find an effective therapy with fewer side effects. for the treatment of atopic. dermatitis and other skin diseases.

“Currently, the treatment of atopic dermatitis is mainly based on corticosteroid hormone for the treatment of skin coating, but (with) long-term use of hormone therapy (it) is very possible to trigger dyslipidemia, dysarteriotonia (abnormal blood pressure) and glucose abnormality, also (leading) to excessive loss of calcium,” Ni said Medical News Today. “There is an urgent need to find a new effective therapy for atopic dermatitis with fewer (or) even no side effects.”

What makes CAP a viable treatment option for atopic dermatitis?

“CAP has been widely involved in medical applications,” Ni said. “CAP is able to promote the healing of acute and chronic wounds, improve the cleaning and disinfection of the mouth, and facilitate the treatment of cancer. PAC has been shown to upregulate the expression of hypoxia-induced factor 1 (HIF-1) in human dermal fibroblasts. This offers the possibility of effective treatment of [atopic dermatitis] by CAP therapy.

During the study, Ni and his team said they found that CAP treatment helped heal atopic dermatitis-like skin lesions in a mouse model. In addition, the CAP treatment helped relieve skin inflammation, oxidative stressand endoplasmic reticulum stress which normally accompanies an inflammatory response in the body.

As for potential side effects, Ni said previous studies have shown CAP therapy to be safe with minimal to no side effects.

“Although we did not study side effects in the present work, we believe that the CAP method is safe with fewer (or) even no side effects in the treatment of atopic dermatitis,” he added.

DTM also spoke with Dr. Angela J. Lamb, associate professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York and vice president of clinical strategy and operations, dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York.

She said it was an exciting time for atopic dermatitis research.

“Cold atmospheric plasma is very promising, and although this is a mouse study, there have been studies in humans that have shown improvement in atopic dermatitis in patients treated with CAP “, she explained. “The good thing about this study is that it is well controlled and shows at the molecular level why CAP helps atopic dermatitis.”

“This study shows that the PAC increases factor 1 alphawhich increases MANF expression“, Lamb continued. “MANF has been implicated as an important protector in the atopic dermatitis pathway by binding to the promoter region of NF kappa beta.”

Ni said he hopes this research will help advance the clinical application of CAP therapy and provide new ideas for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

“In the next step, we will further investigate the safety and efficacy of CAP technology in the treatment of dermatitis, and promote its clinical application as soon as possible,” he added.

Lamb added that she would like to see more human studies and specific treatment protocols, including frequency and duration of exposure.

“Finally, it would be nice to see if it has any lasting effects on the skin,” she said. “There are many treatments that only work temporarily. It would be nice to see if it accomplishes more permanent changes in the skin.

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