Scientists make huge chemotherapy breakthrough

Scientists make huge chemotherapy breakthrough

A major new finding could be a tremendous boon to people who have breast cancer and must undergo chemotherapy.

A new clinical trial has resulted in very positive results for a recently approved cooling cap system that would help cancer patients in the U.S. preserve their hair while taking chemotherapy treatments. The trial found that 48 of 95 breast cancer patients – or 51 percent – who used the cooling cap still have a solid amount of hair, even after undergoing four cycles of chemotherapy.

That’s a lot better than the 47 control group patients who didn’t use the cooling cap. Not a single one of them still had hair after four rounds of chemotherapy.

It’s an incredibly promising result for a system that was only just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year. It was such an incredible improvement that the trial’s monitoring board decided to stop the study midway and release results. Their findings were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Chemotherapy typically destroys hair cells along with the cancer cells because like cancer cells, they rapidly divide, which is why people who go through chemotherapy lose their hair. The cooling caps would cause less chemotherapy agent to be delivered to the hair follicles.

“We are pleased to see a product for breast cancer patients that can minimize chemotherapy-induced hair loss and contribute to the quality of life of these individuals,” said William Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., acting director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Managing the side effects of chemotherapy is a critical component to overall health and recovery.”

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