It could prove to be one of the biggest discoveries of modern times for breast cancer patients who go through chemotherapy.
A massive new discovery could provide tremendous hope for those who are currently faced with chemotherapy as a result of a breast cancer diagnosis. A new clinical trial shows that a recently approved cooling cap system could help cancer patients preserve their hair during chemotherapy, with 48 of 95 breast cancer patients (51 percent) who used the caps continuing to have hair despite four cycles of chemotherapy.
That compares with the 47 control group patients who didn’t use the cooling cap, and none of them were able to keep their hair. The discovery was so promising, particularly for a drug just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year, that the trial’s monitoring board halted the study midway and went ahead and released the results, which were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
The reason why chemotherapy causes people to lose their hair is that chemotherapy agents tend to target rapidly dividing cells, which are a hallmark of cancer. However, hair cells also rapidly divide, and so they end up being collateral damage. The cooling cap stops that by reducing the amount of chemotherapy agent that makes its way to the hair follicles.
“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, M.D., M.P.H., acting director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Managing the side effects of chemotherapy is a critical component to overall health and recovery.”