Healing with Cold Plasma - Wacker Chemie AG

Healing with Cold Plasma

A plasma patch based on WACKER silicones: the picture shows the conducting structures that aid plasma ignition on a wound. This plasma appears as a bluish opalescence (surface glow).

An Excellent Choice for Medicine

Silicones lend themselves to medical applications due to their basic material characteristics, too. Thanks to the high bond energy between the silicon and oxygen atoms, silicones are highly resistant to environmental influences and are thermally stable and highly flexible, and possess excellent mechanical properties.

“However, a prerequisite for the use of silicones in medical applications is that the products satisfy the highest of quality requirements,” adds WACKER manager Westenberg. “We ensure this by paying particular attention to purity, biocompatibility, high adhesive strength and top processing properties.” WACKER guarantees that the purity of its SILPURAN® products has been verified and can be traced from the end product back to the raw-material source. In addition, these medical-grade silicones are filled and packaged under cleanroom conditions in order to ensure top quality.

Pouring process:

Collaboration between WACKER and the Coldplasmatech team was launched in January 2014 at their first meeting. “We were immediately inspired by the interesting idea and the highly motivated scientists – as well as the completely new application area for our silicones,” reports Westenberg. Mahrenholz and his colleagues use two different SILPURAN® silicones from WACKER in their innovative plasma patch:

a gelatinous, high-tack silicone to ensure that the plasma patch adheres well to the surrounding, intact skin, and a soft silicone rubber with a dry surface that does not stick to the wound surface.

How plasma heals – wound surfaces are often full of bacteria. Bacterial infestation exacerbates the healing process. Plasma, on the other hand, can decontaminate injured skin. An ionized gas layer of plasma builds up between the wound and the silicone. The ionized gas layers spread to the base of the wound. The natural healing process is accelerated by the activated gas and is initiated both by the wound base and the wound boundaries.

Serving primarily as an insulator, the silicone contains embedded electrical conductor paths that are supplied with the necessary energy. To this end, the plasma patch is connected to a voltage generator – the plasma cube. Furthermore, this innovative dressing is designed so that the plasma forms between the wound and the silicone. “Thanks to special electronic activation, we managed to generate the cold plasma on the inner surface of the dressing, directly over the wound,” explains Mahrenholz. It will be possible, with a minimum amount of effort, to treat patients with a plasma patch as part of the routine changing of dressings – for example, with disposable products. “Treatment will be absolutely painless and will take only a few minutes,” says Güra. Patients will experience merely a slight tingling sensation. Clinical trials conducted by various task groups from Munich, Göttingen, Berlin and Greifswald using different plasma sources have already shown that even persistent open wounds heal within just a few weeks.

Numerous Awards

The Greifswald scientists have won numerous awards for their innovative technology, including “invention” – a startup prize awarded by German family-owned businesses. In this competition, they were voted the most successful German startup team of 2014. The scientists have already set up a lab-scale production facility for plasma patches. This innovative wound dressing is currently in its final development phase. If everything goes according to plan, this novel medical product will be submitted for certification before the year is out – once approved, it can offer relief to patients with chronic wounds.