Chemotherapy is targeted to kill rapidly dividing cancer cells in the body, but it also kills rapidly dividing healthy cells in the body, such as hair follicles. Hair loss begins weeks after chemotherapy starts, usually coming out in clumps, then continues gradually for the next few months. Three to six months after treatment ends, the hair begins to regrow, however it is usually a different color and texture. In rare cases, hair does not grow back at all. Researchers think in these cases, the hair follicle stem cells were also damaged.
Overall, 65% of all chemotherapy patients will suffer from chemotherapy-induced hair loss, with certain drugs being more prone to cause it. Hair loss is rated the most traumatic side effect of cancer therapy with as many as 8% of patients declining life-saving chemotherapy because of it. Hair loss takes away your privacy because with one quick glance, everyone instantly knows you are very ill.
Cold capping started in Europe in the 1970’s and has evolved to being the only method proven to save hair during chemotherapy. The cold constricts blood vessels which keeps the toxic drug from the hair follicles. Also, the cold slows down the uptake of the drug into the cells. There is 50 years of data, 65 clinical trials, 5,000+ study patients, and 85 abstracts and publications on the topic. While mostly successful, current cold capping methods are labor intensive and challenging to implement.
Eisana is developing a patent pending, state-of-the-art scalp cooling device to wear before, during, and after infusion to prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss. The device is portable and can cool for long periods of time, necessary to have success even for drugs that take longer to leave your body.