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Cell-killing electrical pulses help heal burns

by • August 8, 2016 • No Comments

On the other hand high-voltage electrical shocks can cause burns, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have not long ago shown that the application of pulsed electric fields (PEF) in fact aids in healing them. In a system known as partial irreversible electroporation, it does so by killing skin cells.

The research was conducted on lab rats, that succeded in burn injuries while under anesthesia. Those rats were subsequently every subjected to five PEF treatment sessions spaced 20 days apart. PEF itself is non-invasive, and does not generate any heat.

Applied at the burn site, the electrical pulses cause small pores to form in cells’ membranes. On the other hand this kills the cells themselves, it leaves the extracellular matrix intact, along with surrounding structures such as blood vessels. Adjacent cells and so proliferate, releasing facts that promote tissue growth and repair.

In the rat trials, scars were reduced in dimensions by 58 percent by the end of the 20-day period. Additionally, there were worthwhile improvements in the injures’ overall appearance and the structure, density and way of collagen fibers.

“We showed that killing a few, but not all of the cells in the injure may in fact assist regenerate skin without scarring,” says Dr. Alexander Golberg, who led the research. “The main difference between this approach and procedures like ultrasound and lasers is that they operate on the whole tissue, while pulsed electric field treatment works on just a cellular level, that we assume can provide additional exact treatment results in the next as we are able-bodied to target cells specifically.”

It is hoped that human clinical trials may soon follow. A previous studydid indicate the effectiveness of electrical stimulation on non-burn injures on humans.

Source: Massachusetts General Hospital

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