Cooling System for the Reduction of Hair Follicle Damage during Chemotherapy

Authors: Alex Werner, Ivan Edwards, Eric Cardiel, Andy Wu

Advisors: Dr. Alessandro Bellofiore, Dr. Mohamed Badawy

Chemotherapeutic drugs are effective for cancer treatment but can be toxic and cause damage to skin, nails, and hair follicles. Cryotherapy has been shown to be successful in inducing vasoconstriction in peripheral blood vessels, and so cooling the scalp, hands, and feet can effectively limit the amount of chemotherapeutic drugs delivered to those areas, potentially reducing the damage resulting from chemotherapy. Other studies have reported promising results using this technique to prevent skin and nail irritation and peripheral neuropathy. We have designed a novel cryotherapy system, which utilizes thermoelectric cooling devices to decrease the temperature of the scalp, hands, and feet during chemotherapy sessions. The system is lined with pyrolytic graphite to improve the uniformity of the cooling distribution. Temperature sensors provide feedback to the control system to ensure the skin temperature is maintained below 18ºC to prevent alopecia.