Using plasma for health

Using plasma for health

During the current pandemic, health professionals face the dilemma of both reducing the risk of community-acquired infection and reassuring the public that it is safe to travel on public transport. I and my colleagues at Genoframe, a start-up company dedicated to using plasma for sterilising surfaces and contained objects, have come up with simple solutions to kill viruses and harmful organisms. These have low costs both initially and over the following five years.

A person in a science lab holding a test tube
"Plasma offers us a novel route into a better and safer life." - James Frame, Fellow

For the past 12 years I have been working on plasma technology and have found a terrestrial use for ‘hot’ plasma in skin regeneration using a novel plasma generating tool called NebulaskinTM, where thick skin can be thinned and tightened. This is relevant in aesthetica and for patients with burn scar hypertrophy and unsightly skin grafts. I have also identified vitally important applications for cold plasmas as antimicrobial and antiviral agents, and also other medical applications especially for nitric oxide.

Cold plasmas are present around the hot plasmas that are produced from an electric arc discharge. Essentially an element is stripped of electrons and accelerated using magnets into a cloud of charged ‘gas ‘that is freely diffusible into all sorts of nooks and crannies before then slowing down, gaining electrons and reverting back into a more stable form within a few seconds. Ozone and nitric oxide plasmas are produced from air in such an environment and are highly reactive species, but rapidly stabilize into either oxygen or a nitrogen oxide respectively. These ozone or nitric oxide plasmas are separated effectively using Modunox (produced by Fourth State Medicine Ltd) which generates a different chemistry of plasmas when set at different flow rates of air pumped into the machine. The application of this technology into a role involving viral kill and preventing emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria has been accelerated during this current pandemic and it is not only applicable to the present, but also the future.

Controlled amounts of ozone and or nitric oxide can be safely and consistently produced and passed into enclosed environments, with zero emissions through the use of highly effective catalytic filters. Over the past two years OXONOX, the commercial arm of Genoframe, has developed and tested prototypes of equipment that is now to market for sterilising the handrails on moving escalators and the air within elevators in the form of OXONOX Airstair and OXONOX Airlift respectively. Both environments have been shown to present a danger of transmission of harmful organisms to the public.

Recent studies clearly demonstrate the very high level of surface contamination on touch keypads and handrails with the most common organisms being faecal in origin. OXONOX Airstair and Airlift both address these issues by killing at least 99.99% of harmful bacteria within seconds and thus should reassure the public and make travel safer. This evidence is based upon recent prototype studies performed at Manchester Piccadilly Station and Leeds United FC at Ellen Road, which both demonstrated the effectiveness of the OXONOX equipment in killing harmful organisms safely.

In addition to its viricidal and bactericidal roles, nitric oxide has a multitude of other roles at a cellular level and is vital in the maintenance of normal body homeostasis. It is bioactive in producing smooth blood vessel dilatation and in promoting keratinocyte and fibroblast proliferation and is used to neonatal respiratory medicine and to treat adult pulmonary and vascular disorders. It has a role in treating the pulmonary injury created by Covid-19. The vasoactive property and capacity of nitric oxide to promote wound healing is in addition to its viricidal and antibacterial role vital and OXONOX already has a number of applications that have been developed and are still developing, which are related to stem cell transfer, cartilage regeneration, skin rejuvenation, drug metabolism or delivery, and hair restoration.

My current university-based research is geared to developing global applications for OXONOX products that will deliver hope to many, especially the most vulnerable. These include patients with hair loss from chemotherapy, painful arthritis, eye infections, burn injury and chronic wounds.

The nation’s recovery is based upon economic growth, but that can’t happen until the population is vaccinated and ready to survive in an environment littered with a multitude of other harmful organisms. I believe that we can do so much more to make a safer environment - and plasma offers us a novel route into a better and safer life.


The views and opinions expressed by any Fellow are those of the Fellow and not of the Churchill Fellowship or its partners, which have no responsibility or liability for any part of them.


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