Cooling Cap for Chemotherapy Patients Help Save Hair Follicles

Cooling Cap for Chemotherapy Patients Help Save Hair Follicles

Hair loss is ranked the most troubling side effect of treatment for women. Most patients undergoing chemotherapy, lose some or all of their hair as a side affect to the treatment.

A new device which is a scalp cooling cap is currently in clinical trials. A New York City hospital is involved in the trials on a device called the DigniCap System. The device has been effective at limiting hair loss in nearly all patients enrolled.

The cap, which is worn by a patient during chemotherapy transfusions, is secured on a patient's head each time they undergo treatment. The cap chills the scalp down to 5 degrees celsius so that the blood vessels surrounding the hair roots contract, minimizing the amount of the toxins from the drugs entering the hair follicle. This potentially reduces or stops a patient's hair from falling out.

Dr. Paula Klein, principal investigator for the clinical trial, indicates results from women who use the cap, lose just 25 percent of their hair and some who lost more or not at all.  This is a positive sign with breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment includes two of the most active drugs associated with significant hair loss.

The trial is now in its final phase and results will be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of November with hopes to win FDA approval for the cap in 2015.

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