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Cooling System to Prevent Hair Loss

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JAMA

January 19, 2016

Women with breast cancer who dread losing their hair during chemotherapy have a new ally. The first computer-controlled scalp cooling device designed to reduce the frequency and severity of chemotherapy-induced alopecia has gained FDA approval.

The DigniCap Cooling System, manufactured by Dignitana of Lund, Switzerland, circulates liquid coolant throughout a silicone cap that fits snugly over the head. The cap contains 2 sensors that continuously monitor scalp temperature, allowing the system to maintain the optimal cooling level. A third built-in safety sensor prevents scalp temperature from dropping below 32°F. In a clinical study, patients’ scalp temperature was lowered to between 37.4°F and 41°F (Friedrichs K and Carstensen MH. Springerplus. 2014;3:500). An insulating outer cap made of neoprene fits over the silicone cap and keeps it in place while patients receive therapy.

Dignitana

Rebecca Voelker, MSJ

The DigniCap Cooling System, manufactured by Dignitana of Lund, Switzerland, circulates liquid coolant throughout a silicone cap that fits snugly over the head. The cap contains 2 sensors that continuously monitor scalp temperature, allowing the system to maintain the optimal cooling level. A third built-in safety sensor prevents scalp temperature from dropping below 32°F. In a clinical study, patients’ scalp temperature was lowered to between 37.4°F and 41°F (Friedrichs K and Carstensen MH. Springerplus. 2014;3:500). An insulating outer cap made of neoprene fits over the silicone cap and keeps it in place while patients receive therapy.

Cooling action is intended to constrict blood vessels in the scalp, which is believed to reduce the amount of chemotherapy that reaches hair follicle cells. Lower scalp temperature also decreases cell division in hair follicles, reducing cellular uptake of chemotherapy drugs. In US trials, the cooling system was studied mainly with regimens including taxanes such as paclitaxel and docetaxel. Studies in other countries evaluated the system with anthracyclines including epirubicin and doxorubicin (http://bit.ly/1Y69GV0).

According to the FDA, the cooling system was studied in 122 women with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer who underwent chemotherapy regimens associated with hair loss. Nearly 70% of women who used the cap reported that they lost less than half their hair based on photographs taken about a month after their last chemotherapy cycle. Common adverse effects included cold-induced headaches, chills, neck and shoulder discomfort, or pain from wearing the cap for an extended time (http://1.usa.gov/1TZWeS6).

read more at JAMA

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