The aim of the Research and Innovation Centre is to be a global leader in its field, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge while also developing cutting-edge products. Creating the best possible outcome for the patient will always be our first priority.
At the beginning of 2019, Paxman and the University of Huddersfield initiated a multi-disciplinary research group, collaborating across the School of Applied Sciences and the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
The Centre focuses on biological hair follicle research as well as developing innovative scalp cooling-related treatments and individual 3D-printed cooling caps.
For the team at the centre, it has been imperative to have a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms by which cooling reduces the chemotoxic effect on rapidly dividing hair follicle cells.
This understanding has allowed them to both predict which chemotherapy regimens will prove to be most challenging when used in conjunction with scalp cooling, and find solutions to increase efficacy and hair retention.
Previously, it was thought that vasoconstriction was the only mechanism in which scalp cooling reduced the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy drugs, however further in vitro experiments have revealed other protective effects – such as reduced drug uptake, reduced metabolic activity, and reduced rate of hair follicle cell division.
The primary focus of the biological team at the research centre will be to apply their discoveries around the mechanisms of scalp cooling within the lab, to further increase hair retention for any patient undergoing chemotherapy worldwide once applied in the clinic.
Understanding the biological mechanisms of scalp cooling has led to the development of a topically applied product that enhances the effect of the treatment.
The topical agent aims to deliver to the hair follicles a molecule with strong antioxidant properties, in order to suppress the generation and/or the action of the highly damaging reactive oxygen species (radicals), generated inside cells, after chemotherapy treatment.
Biological work at the centre has provided evidence that a panel of antioxidants with different potencies, can be combined with cooling to suppress or completely inhibit chemotherapy drug-mediated cytotoxicity.
Research so far has provided strong evidence on the efficacy of the combination of cooling and treatment with antioxidants. This is an exciting development that could revolutionise the efficacy of scalp cooling in the near future, rendering scalp cooling almost 100% effective clinically.
The aim is to be able to formulate an agent in such a way that it can be applied topically to the scalp just before drug infusion. The formulation will promote the efficient delivery of the antioxidant to the follicle’s rapidly dividing cells to protect from chemotherapy-mediated toxicity.