We spend billions every year on products and surgery in the quest to find a "fountain of youth," with little permanent success. Botulinum toxin - notably Botox - which smoothes lines and wrinkles to rejuvenate the aging face has been the number one nonsurgical procedure since 2000. But injections of this toxic bacterium are only a temporary solution and carry many risks, some neurological.
A team researchers has now devised a non-invasive technique that harnesses pulsed electric fields to generate new skin tissue growth. According to their research, the novel non-invasive tissue stimulation technique, utilizing microsecond-pulsed, high-voltage, non-thermal electric fields, produces scarless skin rejuvenation and may revolutionize the treatment of degenerative skin diseases. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Current therapies to rejuvenate skin use various physical and chemical methods to affect cells and the extracellular matrix, but they induce unsightly scarring. Pulsed electric fields, however, affect only the cell membrane itself, preserving the extracellular matrix architecture and releasing multiple growth factors to spark new cell and tissue growth. By inducing nanoscale defects on the cell membranes, electric fields cause the death of a small number of cells in affected areas. The released growth factors increase the metabolism of the remaining cells, generating new tissue.
"We have identified in rats the specific pulsed electric field parameters that lead to prominent proliferation of the epidermis, formation of microvasculature, and secretion of new collagen at treated areas without scarring," the researchers said. "Our results suggest that pulsed electric fields can improve skin function and potentially serve as a novel non-invasive skin therapy for multiple degenerative skin diseases."
The researchers are currently developing a low-cost device for use in clinical trials in order to test the safety and efficacy of the technology in humans.
Based on material orginally posted by American Friends of Tel Aviv University.