Medical applications of cold atmospheric plasma: state of the science

02 July 2023
Volume 7 · Issue 3


Cold atmospheric plasmas (CAP) have been used in multiple medical fields and have become a promising medical technology. CAP-generating devices are safe and easy to operate and can now be manufactured at a low cost due to advancements in electronics and microchips. A primary application of CAP is as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial technology. With the high incidence of infections caused by drug-resistant microorganisms, a non-antibiotic based treatment modality such as CAP holds great therapeutic promise, particularly in the wound care field. In addition to its antimicrobial properties, CAP treatment enhances wound healing by increasing cutaneous microcirculation, monocyte stimulation, and keratinocyte proliferation. CAP has been used by dentists for disinfection of teeth, enhancing gingival fibroblast activity, and even teeth whitening. CAP can combat tumour growth by increasing the efficacy of antitumour therapeutic agents, reactivating apoptotic pathways, or down-regulating growth-related gene sites. Most of the health-care related research on CAP has occurred in the past 15 years; the field is relatively young and needs additional research, as well as confirmation of the existing supporting literature. The purpose of this report is to provide the reader with an overview of the therapeutic application of the cold plasma technology.

Declaration of interest:

All the authors of this manuscript have no conflict of interest to declare. The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors, based on scientific investigation, and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of Trideum Biosciences, Integrated Pharma Services or Integrated MicroSciences.

Plasma is the high-energy, fourth state of matter and naturally occurs on earth as lightning in temperatures peaking over 24,000K.1 Since the days of Nikola Tesla, in the 19th century, researchers have generated plasmas near room temperature (293K), known as non-thermal or cold plasma. Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) technology has rapidly advanced, allowing new understanding and application of plasmas in a variety of fields, particularly in biomedicine. Cold plasma can be created from either a prepared gas medium such as argon, neon, or from the gaseous mixture in the earth's atmosphere. Cold plasma is usually generated at standard atmospheric pressure, thus labelled as ‘atmospheric plasma’. CAP, which is sometimes referred to as atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) or atmospheric pressure plasma discharge (APPD), is generally safe for use on healthy tissue, and may be labelled as a tissue-tolerable plasma (TTP). In this report, we will use the abbreviation ‘CAP’ where applicable. Our group, which has a significant interest in cold plasma technologies, has been testing and developing cold plasmas. The various components of a plasma generating device are illustrated in Fig 1.

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