Pulsed Electric Field Therapy May Reduce Unwanted Scar Formation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexander Golberg, PhD
Senior Lecturer
Head of Environmental Bioengineering Laboratory
Porter School of Environmental Studies
Tel Aviv University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Wound care costs the U.S. healthcare system more than $20 billion each year, and care required to combat skin scarring represents an additional $12 billion burden. Hypertrophic scarring after trauma and burn injury remains a major clinical challenge that leads to physical, aesthetic, functional, psychological, and social stresses in thousands of patients. This is a stubborn clinical problem very difficult to solve. Inspired by previous works that pulsed electric fields kill cells precisely in tissue (procedure called irreversible electroporaiton, developed by UC Berkeley group of Boris Rubinsky and Rafael Davalo) and these ablated tissues regenerate with minimal scarring, we decided to test whether pulsed electric fields can reduce the scar formation if we treat the wound during healing.

We found that partial irreversible electroporation using 200 pulses of 250 V and 70 ┬Ás duration, delivered at 3 Hz every 20 days during a total of five therapy sessions after the initial burn injury resulted in a 57.9% reduction of the scar area in comparison with untreated scars and structural features approaching those of normal skin. Noteworthy, unlike humans, rats do not develop hypertrophic scars. Therefore, the use of a rat animal model is the limiting factor of this work.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Scars are important clinical problem with very few people working on its biology and technologies to solve it. The key take way is that by applying physical/energy, targeted therapies it might be possible to treat scars in the future.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: There is a clear need to develop new generation of pulse generators with large surface electrodes to address real world injury problems.

In addition, there is a clear need in the first in humans trials to get fundamental understanding of the human tissue response to this therapy.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

J Invest Dermatol. 2016 Jul 5. pii: S0022-202X(16)32096-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2016.06.620. [Epub ahead of print]
Preventing Scars after Injury with Partial Irreversible Electroporation.
Golberg A1, Villiger M2, Khan S3, Quinn KP4, Lo WC5, Bouma BE5, Mihm MC Jr6, Austen WG Jr3, Yarmush ML7.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27393126

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Last Updated on August 11, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD