A Baylor College of Medicine researcher has reported positive data from a trial of a scalp cooling cap for breast cancer patients undergoing taxane or anthracycline chemotherapy.

Developed by Paxman Cooler, the Orbis Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System is a two-cap system designed to reduce hair loss of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The two-cap system is characterised with an inner silicon cap circulating a refrigerated fluid and the outer neoprene cap insulating the scalp.

"Results suggested the efficacy of the device in reducing hairfall achieving a 50% success."

It can be fitted to the patient’s head by means of a chin strap. The caps are fitted and are worn during the duration of each chemotherapy treatment.

The two-cap system sustains the coolant at a consistent temperature, and is connected to a small machine, which can be separated from the patient for a short duration in order to allow patient mobility during sessions.

The study was based on seven trials which enrolled 182 women with either stage I or II breast cancer who planned to receive at least four cycles of either taxane or anthracycline-based chemotherapy.

The subjects were randomised on a two to one ratio to be treated with the scalp cooling device against no cooling therapy.

The trials were primarily focused to determine the safety and efficacy of the device in minimising hairfall in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Baylor College of Medicine Dr Julie Nangia said: “Hair loss takes a tremendous toll on the patient’s body image, and they no longer have the anonymity of hiding the disease; everyone can see that they are sick.

“Patients and physicians have been hoping and searching for methods or therapies to prevent or reduce hair loss due to chemotherapy, but the options have been very limited due to the complexity of both the disease and the treatment.”

During the trial, the patients wore the cooling cap for 30 minutes before starting the chemotherapy and for 90 minutes following treatment.

Results suggested the efficacy of the device in reducing hairfall achieving a 50% success. The results were accompanied with mild side effects such as headaches and temporary discomfort.

Nangia added: “Variation in hair retention across the sites is likely a result of different types of chemotherapy, administered taxanes have higher hair retention rates and the learning curve for fitting and operating the scalp cooling cap by nurses and physicians."