The two-year ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ (KTP) will design and develop Paxman’s medical cooling system for the prevention of Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). This is a common, dose-limiting side-effect experienced by 30-40% of patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer, of which no effective prevention and treatment strategies currently exist.

CIPN causes progressive and often irreversible pain or sensitivity in the hands and feet of patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to delays and discontinuation of treatment. It contributes to long-term poor patient well-being and significantly increases the economic burden in terms of healthcare costs. The condition also leads to losses in work productivity, as affected patients are unable to return to work.

Funded by Innovate UK with a significant contribution from Paxman, the KTP represents an additional collaboration with the University of Huddersfield and a resource for the CIPN project. The partnership will involve newly recruited KTP Associate, Gayathri Kopattil, supervised by the University’s Dr Omar Heurta Cardoso, who will work in new product development with experts from the School of Arts and Humanities, and Paxman’s senior product managers. They will create this new innovative medical device using a product/industrial design experience and a wide range of ‘human-centered design’ approaches.

Recently, cryotherapy (or cooling) of the limbs during chemotherapy demonstrated a protective effect by preventing/reducing CIPN severity. However, the currently used frozen gloves or ice packs are not user-friendly, deliver unstable cooling, and can cause severe frostbite. The research stated there was a need for a medical device to be developed that patients could use in a chemo suite and that would deliver stable cooling, tolerable over the entire duration of the chemotherapy.

Ultimately, the project will generate a CIPN-prevention system ready for clinical trials and medical approval, which will be pursued after the KTP, before the full commercialisation of the device.