British firm Paxman have been given a huge boost with the release of clinical trial data which shows their “cold cap” device can help women avoid hair loss caused by cancer drugs.
Announced last month at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) in Texas, the data showed that the company’s scalp-cooling system, known as Orbis, prevented associated hair fall in just over half of the women who used it during breast cancer treatment. All forty-seven women in a control group – who did not use the device – lost their hair during chemotherapy treatment.
The system works by having the patient wear a helmet, known as a ‘cold cap’, during chemo to chill the scalp to extremely low temperatures. By doing so, blood circulation to the scalp is temporarily minimised, meaning the cancer-fighting drugs that are carried in the bloodstream are prevented from reaching the follicles.
Several cities involved
The trial was named The Scalp Cooling Alopecia Prevention (SCALP) trial and took place across several American clinics last year; all participants had stage one or two breast cancer. The trials were headed up by Julie Nangia, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Reporting from the event, Reuters quoted Ms Nangia as saying: “Scalp cooling devices are highly effective and should become available to women with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy.”
On the back of the announcement, Paxman is now seeking FDA clearance for its system, which has already become a popular fixture at many cancer hospitals in the UK. in fact, the company say that their scalp cooling technology is now used in more than 2,000 clinics, hospitals and treatment centres around the world. In the US, a similar device known as the DigniCap has already been cleared for use.
Responding to the San Antonia announcement on Paxman’s website, their CEO Richard Paxman said: “With society’s emphasis on a woman’s appearance and the cultural significance of a woman’s hair, it is no wonder that women find the prospect of losing their hair as one of the most distressing aspects of the disease (cancer) and its treatment.
“It is such an honour that our clinical trial findings used in the FDA submission were chosen to be presented as a late-breaking abstract at SABCS. This is a real privilege for not only the researchers involved but for all the patients that took part in the trials.”
Slower to catch on in US
Reuters states that Nangia noted during the San Antonio event how scalp cooling technology had been slower to catch on in the US than Europe, due in part to some concerns about the potential for cancer spreading to the scalp. However, they point out that assurance was given at the event by briefing moderator Dr Kent Osborne, who said: “We have tons of data from different trials looking at the site of first recurrence in patients with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer and I don’t think we found a single patient that recurred in the scalp only, ever.”
Hopefully, the day will soon come where no woman – or man – needs to lose their hair during chemotherapy treatment, but until then there is a faintly promising statistic for those who aren’t able to use or aren’t suitable for cold cap treatment. That is the fact that more that three quarters of women who lose their hair during chemotherapy see it grow back naturally within a year.
Sometimes cancer survivors choose to pursue a treatment programme at a recognised hair loss clinic such as Belgravia, in order to spur their regrowth along. This is often possible but only as long as their oncologist provides written permission that this is a suitable option in light of the patient’s overall medical history.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.