A team of researchers from Tel Aviv University and Harvard Medical School have developed a non-invasive technique using pulsed electric fields (PEF) to stimulate the secretion of new collagen and capillaries in skin, generating new skin tissue growth. Their work recently was published in Scientific Reports.
While similar therapies currently are used, they affect many tissue components and can induce side effects such as scarring. The new approach precisely targets cell membranes through electroporation, destroying them while simultaneously preserving the extracellular matrix architecture and releasing multiple growth factors.
Results demonstrated that PEF induced skin re-epithelialization characterized by keratinocyte proliferation and growth at the sites where the epidermis was focally ablated. This specific targeting of cells and the preservation of the skin’s structures is a unique property of PEF.
Further, the researchers showed that PEF-treated epidermis was temporarily thickened, correlating with an over-expression of p63 in the subpopulation of uninjured keratinocytes. Consequently, PEF represents a noninvasive method to control keratinocyte activation and provide a convenient, chemical-free therapy for promoting re-epithelialization. The treatment is entering clinical trials.