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Print 18 comment(s) - last by PlasmaBomb.. on Dec 20 at 1:38 PM


  (Source: dvorak.org)
Plasma at low temperatures is capable of killing bacterial species in chronic wound infections and protective biofilms

A team of researchers from the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow may have found an alternative to antibiotics that is both effective and safe. 

Dr. Svetlana Ermolaeva, leader of the study, along with a team of researchers from the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, may have found a substitute for antibiotics that is capable of treating multi-drug resistant infections. 

The alternative is cold plasma jets. According to the researchers, cold plasma has the ability to fight several bacterial species like Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Antibiotics used today have a difficult time fighting these bacterial species because the bacteria can form biofilms, which are protective layers made by the bacterial species growing together, which makes them resistant to the antibiotics. 

But now, the researchers have found that plasma (at a low temperature of 35-40 degrees Celsius) could be a promising combatant against chronic wound infections. Plasmas are created when high-energy processes "strip atoms of their electrons" to make ionized gas flows at increased temperatures. Hot plasmas are already in use for medical and technical purposes such as disinfecting surgical utensils. 

Ermolaeva and the team of researchers have begun testing cold plasma's ability to fight drug-resistant bacterial species in rats, and found that a 10-minute treatment was effective in not only killing the bacteria, but also caused the wound to heal faster. The low-temperature plasma killed up to 99 percent of bacteria found within lab-grown biofilms after a five minute time period, while this same plasma killed 90 percent of bacteria infecting skin wounds in rats after a 10 minute time period. 

"Cold plasmas are able to kill bacteria by damaging microbial DNA and surface structures without being harmful to human tissues," said Ermolaeva. "Importantly we have shown that plasma is able to kill bacteria growing in biofilms in wounds, although thicker biofilms show some resistance to treatment."

The research team plans to continue their research to better the technique and find useful medical applications for cold plasma. 

"Our work demonstrates that plasma is effective against pathogenic bacteria with multiple-antibiotic resistance - not just in Petri dishes but in actual infected wounds," said Ermolaeva. "Another huge advantage to plasma therapy is that it is non-specific, meaning it is much harder for bacteria to develop resistance. It's a method that is contact-free, painless, and does not contribute to chemical contamination of the environment."

This study was published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.


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I don't see how that helps...
By guffwd13 on 12/15/2010 3:43:33 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
killed 99% of bacteria


I realize this is a work in progress, but if it can't kill 100% of the bacteria effectively and consistently, then its no better than antibiotics. The remaining 1-10% (depending on the experiment) survived for a reason - they were either "lucky," "hiding," or resistant. And if they're resistant, they'll simply pass on the trait until all bacteria are immune to that too.




RE: I don't see how that helps...
By Smartless on 12/15/2010 3:54:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah the article stated that with a thicker bio-film it would be more resistant. I'd like to take a time-machine 200 years in the future and see if we're still around since we seem to evolve slower than bacteria and viruses.


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By osalcido on 12/15/2010 4:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
Um.. Bacteria have been evolving for hundreds of millions of years before us.. and hasn't stopped us in our 5 million year existence from rising.. why would it stop us in the next 200


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By spread on 12/15/2010 4:32:24 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
hasn't stopped us in our 5 million year existence from rising.. why would it stop us in the next 200


Because someone on the internet said so.


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By guffwd13 on 12/15/2010 5:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, we've only had antiobiotics for 70 of those 5 billion. The irony is that antibiotics save the person from infection, but create super bacteria as a result - see my other response below.


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By nafhan on 12/15/2010 3:56:55 PM , Rating: 3
I think the point is that it has a similar effectiveness to antibiotics without being an antibiotic or chemical. Whether or not a bacteria could build up a resistance to plasma treatment, I have no idea.
Regardless, a new way to combat bacterial or viral infections is generally a good thing. Using non-antibiotic methods to combat diseases actually makes antibiotics more effective as they can be used less often.


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By Etsp on 12/15/2010 5:01:47 PM , Rating: 5
For one thing, antibacterial treatments never needed to kill 100% of the bacteria, just as much as possible to allow the immune system to finish the job.

Another thing is that the advantage to this treatment is that it would appear to require a significant change in the bacteria in order for it to be immune to it. Most likely this change would make the bacteria inefficient in how it spends its energy in non cold plasma rich environments. By being immune to this treatment, it will most likely become weaker overall.


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By guffwd13 on 12/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: I don't see how that helps...
By Etsp on 12/15/2010 5:42:07 PM , Rating: 5
No, they aren't the ones left to reproduce. They are the ones left to be decimated by an overwhelming force of T-Cells.

The real issue of bacteria forming resistance to treatments is when people stop treatment too early and the infection comes back and becomes contagious again. A sustained treatment that kills 90% of the bacteria is more than enough as long as it's utilized long enough for the white blood cells to finish the job.

I think the article you are referring to was here: http://www.dailytech.com/Study+Confirms+E+Coli+Evo...

From that article:
quote:
Interestingly the study also confirmed the idea that natural selection is a game of tradeoffs -- by increasing the level of heat shock proteins, the cell consumed valuable resources. While this allowed it to survive, it came at the cost of reduced growth.
Basically, the larger variety of methods we have to combat bacteria, the better. If a strain becomes immune to all drugs and plasma treatments, it will not spread nearly as fast, and it will not be able to overcome the immune system nearly as easily as a non-immune strain.


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By pixelslave on 12/15/2010 8:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
What makes us so different than the bacteria? The bacteria couldn't kill all of us, and we kept coming up with new ways to reduce the rate of death caused by them -- the only difference is that the bacteria evolves by changing their "bodies", we evolve by advance of technology.

But who knows, may be the bacteria are also advanced civilization using nano technology to invade us?


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By Amiga500 on 12/16/2010 7:39:13 AM , Rating: 2
So you suggest that we dump the treatment?

Same with anti-biotics?

What is the point in curing someone if it creates super bacteria which will hypothetically wipe us out some time in the future?

[which I assume is now greater than 80 years away given we haven't been wiped out since anti-biotics came along; now its reset with this plasma treatment]


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By JediJeb on 12/17/2010 2:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Another huge advantage to plasma therapy is that it is non-specific, meaning it is much harder for bacteria to develop resistance.


The 1% that survive is probably as you say "hiding", since a cold plasma is not going to be able to invade every single nook and cranny within tissue. The advantage it does have is that it will kill off a major portion of the bacteria which will disrupt the biofilm which is making the antibiotic less effective thus a combination of plasma and antibiotics should cure infections which are now nearly impossible to kill.


RE: I don't see how that helps...
By PlasmaBomb on 12/20/2010 1:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I realize this is a work in progress, but if it can't kill 100% of the bacteria effectively and consistently, then its no better than antibiotics.


You need to do some research on biofilms - antibiotics have a hard time killing bacteria once they have formed biofilms. Studies have shown that bacterial resistance in biofilms can be up to 5000 times higher than for the same planktonic bacteria.


Totally noob question, but...
By bug77 on 12/15/2010 5:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
... how on earth do you administer (cold) plasma?




RE: Totally noob question, but...
By rcc on 12/15/2010 5:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
From a cold plasma arc?

Dunno, but it's a good question. (And a silly answer)


RE: Totally noob question, but...
By zendude on 12/16/2010 8:56:42 AM , Rating: 2
The article suggests the treatment if for wounds.

So it is most likely not sent through the body in any fashion, but applied directly to the injured area.

I'm not sure they would have a solution for completely internal bacterial infections.


RE: Totally noob question, but...
By menace on 12/16/2010 5:42:02 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if you can use it to eliminate unsightly body hair..

now that will make some real profit


RE: Totally noob question, but...
By Fritzr on 12/17/2010 5:43:49 AM , Rating: 2
For purposes of handling, it can be handled as if it was an ionized gas. You simply direct the flow at the wound which bathes the surface with ions. This is the reason thick layers have a higher survival rate. The surface layer shields the bacteria beneath it.


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