The ESA BIC Bavaria company terraplasma medical releases its first product for professional wound care using cold atmospheric plasma. The concept derives from experiments on the International Space Station (ISS).
In June 2019, terraplasma medical GmbH successfully completed the CE conformity assessment procedure for the plasma care®, which can now be marketed in the European Union. The plasma care® is a handheld, portable medical device for wound care using cold atmospheric plasma. It can assist in the struggle against multi-drug resistant organisms. Following the CE approval, the plasma care® can now be used by medical experts for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds.
Medical treatment straight from the ISS
In 2001, cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev started experiments on the ISS under the guidance of Professor Gregor Morfill from the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) to study complex plasma crystals. Due to Earth’s gravity that causes plasma crystals to be flat, the weightlessness on the ISS in orbit provides ideal conditions for plasma study experiments. Plasma is usually a hot, electrically charged gas. In order to carry out their studies on the ISS, MPE developed the cold plasma technology.
Cold plasma very successfully inactivates bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores. Thereby it contributes to wound healing even in the case of infections with multi-resistant pathogens. Cold plasma is a partly ionised gas that induces small holes in the cell membrane and destroys the DNA of prokaryotic cells (bacteria). Human (eukaryotic) cells are not harmed by the effects of temporarily applied cold atmospheric plasma, as their DNA receives extra protection from the nuclear membrane.
This triggered the idea to use cold plasma to combat bacteria in infected wounds, without harming the patient.
ESA BIC Bavaria support for MPE spin-off
The company terraplasma medical was founded to further develop cold plasma technology. The primary goal was to integrate the complex plasma technology in a portable and user-friendly device for wound care and for skin disease treatment in the future.
Terraplasma medical entered the ESA BIC Bavaria incubation programme in September 2016, where it received support for developing the plasma care® – a small, portable and battery-operated handheld medical device. The plasma care® was developed to significantly reduce the bacterial load in in-patient and out-patient wound care settings, even in the case of infections with multi-resistant pathogens. It uses the unique SMD (Surface Micro Discharge) technology, which guarantees that no current flows through the patient. In combination with a spacer (sterile disposable), the device is placed onto the wound. When activated by touching the start button, the plasma care® generates cold atmospheric plasma directly from the surrounding air by means of micro-discharges. The generated reactive plasma species are transported to the wound surface without any additional flow, i.e. by pure diffusion.
“I hope that with the extensive research and careful development attending to many details of operation, hygiene and safety, the plasma care® will help sufferers of chronic wounds to live a better life.” Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gregor Morfill; Emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics; Director, terraplasma GmbH
About ESA BIC Bavaria
ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Bavaria promotes companies with disruptive products and digital businesses in areas such as robotics, mobile, mobility, automotive, aviation, satellites, etc. Since 2004, AZO has to date supported more than 162 startups with its ESA BIC Bavaria, with an annual turnover of around EUR 150 million in 2018, creating more than 2,800 high-tech jobs in Bavaria and involving more than EUR 50 million in venture capital in 2018. What’s more, the first IPO of an ESA BIC alumnus took place in 2017. ESA BIC Bavaria is one of the most successful incubation programmes in Europe. For more information, please visit www.esa-bic.de
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