Call (866) 471-8869 for FREE Consultation
FDA Approves Scalp Cooling Device to Stop Chemotherapy-Induced Hair Loss
by April Maguire
By now you probably know that chemotherapy, a common cancer treatment, causes hair loss. For many patients, this hair loss can cause issues with self-esteem and depression, which only further complicates an already fraught medical battle. As a result, researchers have been searching for ways to limit or eliminate hair loss as a chemotherapy side effect, and the FDA recently approved a scalp-cooling device that claims to do just that.
The device, called the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, consists of a cap that is worn on the head during chemotherapy treatment. This cap is connected to a refrigeration unit on the floor that circulates coolant through it, which in turn lowers the temperature of the follicles on the scalp. To date, the Paxman Scalp Cooling System is only the second such treatment that has been approved by the FDA, following the approval of DigniCap Cooling System in 2015.
How Does the System Work
Chemotherapy drugs are effective at destroying fast-replicating cells. Unfortunately, these drugs aren't very intuitive, and hair cells often get caught in the crossfire. That's where scalp cooling technology comes into play. By cooling the follicles on the scalp during treatment, it turns out you can actually limit the amount of the drug that is absorbed into the hair cells. As a result, the hair cells aren't damaged, and they don't fall out.
These results were seen in a recent clinical trial using the Paxman system. For the trial, 95 women with early-stage breast cancer were randomly placed in one of two groups. One of these groups used the Paxman Scalp Cooling system during chemotherapy treatment, while the other group did not. According to the results of the trial, just over half of the women who used the Paxman system saw little to no hair loss as a result of undergoing chemotherapy. Conversely, all of the women who did not receive the scalp cooling treatment experienced noticeable hair loss.
While these results are certainly significant, there are some caveats. First, the use of the cooling cap wasn't the only determining factor in whether or not women in the trial experienced hair loss. For example, different types of chemotherapy drugs made the hair loss more or less severe. Also, even though half of the women in the scalp cooling group retained most of their hair, more than half of the women in this group still chose to wear wigs to cover up the hair loss that they did experience.
Overall though, scalp cooling systems like Paxman and DigniCap can definitely provide some relief during a trying time. As progress continues to be made in this area and different options become available, it's possible that chemotherapy-related hair loss may eventually become a thing of the past.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!