The use of a plasma (ionized gas) as an active principle in medicine has been gaining momentum in recent years. The basic idea behind the concept is that a plasma produced at atmospheric pressure contains chemical radicals, charged species and atoms in metastable excited states, all of which have an effect when sent to a substrate. While the initial application was that of disinfection, exploiting effects such as oxidative stress to kill pathogens, while preserving the eukariotic cells thanks to their ability to self-repair, many other more subtle effects have been discovered and are actively investigated.
At Consorzio RFX we have developed a plasma source specifically designed to perform an indirect plasma treatment of living tissues. The source has been patented for the treatment of corneal infections (keratitis). We are now exploring different other applications, in collaborations with several partners in the Padova area.