Gas discharge plasmas formed at atmospheric pressure and near room temperature have recently been shown to be potentially useful for surface and wound sterilization, antisepsis, bleeding cessation, wound healing, and cancer treatment, among other biomedical applications. This tutorial review summarizes the field, stressing the likely role of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species created in these plasmas as the biologically and therapeutically active agents. Reactive species, including radicals and non-radical compounds, are generated naturally within the body and are now understood to be essential for normal biological functions. These species are known to be active agents in existing therapies for wound healing, infection control, and cancer treatment. But they are also observed at elevated levels in persons with many diseases and are associated with aging. The physical and chemical complexity of plasma medical devices and their associated biochemical effects makes the development of safe, effective plasma medical devices and procedures a challenge, but encouragingly rapid progress has been reported around the world in the last several years.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics