Developed by engineers Orianne Bastin and Max Thulliez and Dr Alia Hadefi, the Phenix project intended to develop a new device in order to apply cold plasma onto the digestive mucosa membranes leading to the ablation of the latter.
This method could treat metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, “fatty liver” or diseases such as Barrett’s esophagus.
The innovation relies on the physico-chemical nature of this novel medical application and its action potentially inducing a “programmed cell death”.
The research focuses
- on the development of the device and
- on the laboratory study of cellular and molecular effects when cold plasma is applied to digestive tissue.
On the other side, thanks to the ex vivo model of primary stem cells in the form of organoids that reproduces the physiological and genetic characteristics of the intestinal epithelium, the team of researchers was able to evaluate in vitro the cellular and molecular effects occurring when applying a non-thermal plasma to the digestive tissue.
The organoid consists of protrusions (white arrow) where the intestinal stem cells are located, that give birth to the progenitors, themselves the origin of specialized cells (red arrow). This image illustrates the technique of immunofluorescence microscopy to target proteins of interest using fluorescent substances. We may notice in green the stem cell marker (olfactomedin 4), in blue the nuclei (DAPI) and in red the proliferation marker (PCNA).
The outcomes are auspicious and will be submitted for publication in the coming months.
On the engineeringside, an electrical model developed allows to optimize the intensity of plasma processing by studying several parameters such as its stream or electrical parameters. This development has also led to the publication of a literature review article to describe their use, challenges associated with them and good practices.This will provide a solid foundation for the development of such models and provide an overview of relevant literature to interested researchers.
The article, “Gel models to assess distribution and diffusion of reactive species from cold atmospheric plasma : an overview for plasma medicine applications“, was published by Max Thulliez, Orianne Bastin, Antoine Nonclerc, Alain Delchambre and François Reniers in the journal “Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics” and t is accessible by following this LINK
The rights of this article belong to the Journal of Physics;
This project illustrates the cooperation between the clinic, applied research and translational medical research.
This collaboration was initiated between
- the Beams service of the Ecole Polytechnique de Bruxelles (Bio-Electro And Mechanical Systems),
- the IRIBHM Laboratory (Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Human and Molecular Biology – Faculty of Medicine – ULB
- the Department of Structure, Interfaces and Nanomaterials Chemistry (ChemSIN) – Faculty of Science – ULB
- and gastroenterologists from the Department of Gastroenterology of the Erasme Hospital
with the support of the Michel Cremer Foundation.
A second article of the Phenix team – supported by the Michel Cremer Foundation – has been published.
It is called « Cold atmospheric plasma differentially affects cell renewal and differentiation of stem cells and APC-deficient-derived tumor cells in intestinal organoids » and is now freely available HERE
It describes the effect of our Cold Atmospheric Plasma system on organoids, 3D self-renewing mouse intestinal cell cultures modeling the intestinal mucosa. They constitute a very accurate model to predict the treatment response in patients and it is their first reported use in plasma medicine, long overdue !
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