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Cooling Cap Helps Reduce Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Dec 2015
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Image: The DigniCap scalp cooling system (Photo courtesy of Dignitana).
Image: The DigniCap scalp cooling system (Photo courtesy of Dignitana).
A novel cooling system helps reduce the frequency and severity of alopecia during chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.

The DigniCap scalp cooling system is based on a tight-fitting silicone cooling cap placed directly on the head, and an outer neoprene cap that insulates and secures the silicone cap. The cooling cap itself is connected to a control unit that circulates a liquid coolant through the silicone cap, thus delivering consistent, controlled cooling to all areas of the scalp. Two built-in sensors continuously monitor scalp temperature, maintaining optimal cooling throughout the treatment. A third built-in safety sensor ensures the cooling temperature as measured on the scalp never drops below freezing point.

As the temperature of the scalp is lowered, blood vessel vasoconstriction reduces delivery of chemotherapy to the scalp, as well as inducing reduced cellular drug uptake due to decreased intra-follicular metabolic rate. The combined action is thought to reduce the effect chemotherapy has on the cells, which may reduce hair loss. Key system features include quick-disconnect to accommodate bathroom breaks, an intuitive touch screen interface to simplify operation, and flash memory that makes it possible to save data from each scalp cooling treatment and facilitates software upgrades.

The cooling cap itself is available in multiple sizes to insure a personalized fit, and has a smooth inner surface to enable optimal contact between scalp and cap. The cap is shaped to leave the patients’ ears uncovered for comfort and ease of hearing. An additional benefit is that two independently controlled systems can be used for the simultaneous treatment of two patients. The DigniCap scalp cooling system is a product of Dignitana (Lund, Sweden), and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Working with the professionals at our clinical trial sites has given us a significant head start in learning how best to provide the DigniCap scalp cooling system here in the United States,” said Bill Cronin, COO of Dignitana. “Additionally, we are fortunate to have attracted a talented group of professionals with scalp cooling experience, ready to help our future infusion center clients offer this valuable therapy option to patients as efficiently and as smoothly as possible.”

“We are pleased to see a product for breast cancer patients that can minimize chemotherapy-induced hair loss and contribute to the quality of life of these individuals,” said William Maisel, MD, MPH, acting director of the office of device evaluation at the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). “Managing the side effects of chemotherapy is a critical component to overall health and recovery.”

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