The delivery of ultrashort pulses of electrical energy represents a promising nonthermal, nonscarring method of inducing regulated cell death in common skin lesions. This and other novel approaches to applying electrical impulses to treat disease are published in Practical Applications of Bioelectric Stimulation, a special issue of Bioelectricity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Bioelectronic Medicine 2019-2029.
Guest Editor of the special issue Richard Nuccitelli, PhD, Pulse Biosciences, Hayward, CA, contributed the article entitled "Nano-Pulse Stimulation Therapy for the Treatment of Skin Lesions" Nano-Pulse Stimulation (NPS) delivers nanosecond pulsed electric fields to cells and tissues. NPS specifically targets cells, generating nanometer wide pores that allow small ions to enter to alter the flow of sodium, potassium and calcium ions in and out of the cells. It can induce cell death in epidermal or dermal lesions, but as it does not affect the dermal collagen it does not cause scarring. Dr. Nuccitelli discusses the characteristics of NPS, its effects on normal skin, on epidermal lesions such as seborrheic keratosis, on dermal lesions, and on warts caused by human papilloma virus.
Also of interest in this special issue is the article entitled "Preventing Ethanol-Induced Brain and Eye Morphology Defects Using Optogenetics" by Vaibhav Pai, Tufts University, Medford, MA and Dany Spencer Adams, Tufts University and Ion Diagnostics, Watertown, MA. Exposure of a fetus to alcohol can lead to defects in brain and eye morphology, as part of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). This is also true in the developing tadpole. Pai and Adams used this model system to test the use of optogenetics - light-induced energy - to regulate ion channel function and ion fluxes and to rescue tadpoles from the effects of alcohol. Using controlled membrane voltage modulation, the researchers were able to rescue the ethanol-induced brain and eye defects in the tadpoles. The hyperpolarization effect was required for the full duration of the ethanol exposure. Furthermore, the rescue effect acted at a distance, suggesting that bioelectric modulation to treat ethanol-induced brain and eye defects in human embryos might be possible using existing ion channel drugs.
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HDO81326. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Source and top image: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc/Genertic Engineering News