THE SCIENCE OF SCALP COOLING

 

The damage that chemotherapy causes to the hair follicle can be alleviated by using scalp cooling.

The cold cap works by reducing the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees immediately before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy. This in turn reduces the blood flow carrying chemo therapy drugs to hair follicles, which can prevent or minimize hair loss.

Cooling causes blood-vessel vasoconstriction, which has been shown to reduce blood flow in the scalp to 20% to 40% of the normal rate, resulting in less chemotherapeutic drug being delivered to the hair follicles.

The rate of drug diffusion across a plasma membrane is also reduced by cooling, and thus lower effective drug doses may enter the cells.

Cell division, which is metabolism-driven, decelerates as a result of cooling, causing the usually fast dividing hair follicle cells to become dormant. The chemotherapy drugs which target fast dividing cells therefor bypass these dormant hair follicles.

Finally, a decrease in the metabolic activity of the cells in the hair follicle could cause a more general reduction in the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy drugs localized to the scalp.

We are delighted to be working closely with Huddersfield University at the Paxman Research and Innovation Centre, the world’s first scalp cooling research centre. Scientists are undergoing ground breaking research to further our understanding of the biological mechanism of scalp cooling, which will in turn allow us to make strides to improve efficacy.