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Cooling Cap Helps Chemotherapy Patients Preserve Their Hair

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 20 Dec 2021
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Image: Amma can protect from chemotherapy induced hair loss (Photo courtesy of Cooler Heads)
Image: Amma can protect from chemotherapy induced hair loss (Photo courtesy of Cooler Heads)
A novel portable scalp cooling system (PSCS) is designed to help those undergoing chemotherapy avoid treatment-induced hair loss (alopecia).

The Cooler Heads (San Francisco, CA, USA) Amma device is a wearable cap designed to provide cooling therapy by circulating a water/isopropyl alcohol (IPA) mixture at a pre-set temperature and flow rate while placed firmly and securely on the patient’s head. The self-contained, electrically-powered refrigeration unit is programmed via a touchscreen controller with a menu-driven, graphical user interface. The controller is integrated into the refrigeration unit to allow healthcare professional to directly initiate, monitor, and complete the scalp cooling process.

Amma is first shipped independently to the patient, who is trained on how to use the system, and directed to bring it to the chemotherapy session. When the infusion therapy is concluded, two more hours of scalp cooling are delivered, during which patients unplug the device from the power outlet and continue treatment while in the car and in the comfort of their home. Once cooling is complete, the patient simply stores the device away and brings it with them for their next infusion. When they are done with chemotherapy, the Amma device is shipped back to Cooler Heads.

“Cancer patients undergoing chemo are dealing with the hardest challenge one can face; keeping their hair is critical to their mental health, their sense of self, and their recovery process,” said Kate Dilligan, CEO of Cooler Heads. “Scalp cooling is an effective way for cancer patients to save their hair, but existing methods are prohibitively expensive and difficult to use.”

Alopecia is a transient and mostly reversible consequence of systemic cytotoxic chemotherapy, as it attacks rapidly dividing cells in the body, including the dividing hair matrix cells. Alopecia can be psychologically and socially devastating; for some, the emotional trauma may be so severe as to lead to refusing or delaying further treatment. Recovery generally requires a period of several months to a year, amplifying the impact of the disease and its treatment.

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