A new project, between Paxman and the University of Huddersfield, will develop the novel medical device to be used during chemotherapy treatment that could have the potential to benefit a further 1.4 million patients globally and over 30,000 in the UK annually.

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), 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 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 quickly.

Funded by Innovate UK with significant contribution from Paxman, the KTP represents additional collaboration with the University of Huddersfield and 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, to create this new innovative medical device using product/industrial design experience and a wide range of ‘human-centred 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 which 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 full commercialisation of the device.