Innovative Insulation helped Lizzy Cronin and Rhonda Svedeman of Chemo Cold Caps find the perfect reflective insulation material to incorporate into their capping system, reducing the labor of patients and caregivers during chemotherapy treatments.
Scalp cooling treatments have emerged in the last decade as a method to substantially prevent alopecia (hair loss) from chemotherapy. Scalp cooling, which is undertaken during chemotherapy treatments by manually applying a pre-chilled cryo gel cap or using a machine, constricts blood vessels in the scalp and reduces the activity of hair follicles. The cooling effect makes follicles less vulnerable to damage from chemotherapy treatments.
“Chemo Cold Caps’ six cap system is a very effective way to prevent hair loss, but it takes work and commitment,” says Rhonda Svedeman, Office Manager for Chemo Cold Caps. “It’s not something that a patient can do alone. Our team provides training and any additional support that patients need, but we are always looking for ways to simplify the capping process.”
The scalp cooling process, done manually, requires constant work to keep the caps at a temperature of -30 degrees Celsius. In most manual Cold Cap treatment systems, the caps must be stored in a cooler with dry ice and continually changed every 15-20 minutes to maintain a subzero
Chemo Cold Caps, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, provides a scalp cooling system that helps reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. Chemo Cold Caps was founded by Lizzy Cronin and her husband Bill after Lizzy received a cancer diagnosis and kept over eighty percent of her hair by undergoing scalp cooling treatments.
“The prospect of losing hair affects everyone differently,” says Svedeman. “Some patients embrace it and view it as a reminder of their survival. Many of our patients want to appear as they always have to their families and friends as they are battling cancer. Knowing that hair loss can be prevented with our treatment is a major weight off our patients’ minds.”
With the original cold cap system, the company could not extend each cap’s use time beyond twenty minutes. “The treatment is not as effective once the cap warms up, which happens three to four times per hour, and so they are changed out in manual systems, including ours,” explains
Svedeman. “We wanted to increase the time that patients could wear each cap by keeping the caps cold longer. Several members of our team have undergone the cold capping treatment, and we knew that reducing the labor involved, even by a small amount, would make the process less
stressful for patients and their loved ones.”
The company’s capping system is designed to make a laborious process easier on patients and their loved ones. Everything required to complete the treatment is provided by Chemo Cold Caps aside from the dry ice needed to chill the caps to -30 degrees Celsius, the temperature that helps hair follicles on the scalp resist the effects of chemotherapy.
Chemo Cold Caps was able to increase the amount of time each cap would be worn by creating an exclusive outer insulating cap using Innovative Insulation’s Temptrol® metalized cloth. Temptrol is a reflective insulation fabric designed for clothing, curtains and tents. It is breathable, lightweight, and reflects up to 95% of infrared energy. Chemo Cold Caps found that Temptrol’s reflective properties were exactly what was needed to extend the time between cap changeouts.
“Adding the outer Temptrol cap to the system is a big advantage for our cold cap system,” says Svedeman. “Our caps now stay cold for twenty-five minutes before requiring a changeout. It may not seem like a huge bump, but longer capping times mean less hassle for our patients.”
Temptrol is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, flexes without cracking and is easy to handle and sew, which made developing a prototype easier for Cronin and Svedeman.
“The great thing about Temptrol is that it works equally well on both sides of the fabric,” says Svedeman. “When we were developing the new cap and had to make adjustments, we found that the fabric was easy to sew and provided the flexibility we needed.”
Some patients must wear the cold caps including the silver cap made from Temptrol fabric at the end of chemo treatment after they leave the infusion center. “It’s kind of a fun, victorious feeling for our patients to leave treatment wearing the silver cap,” says Svedeman. “Patients with cancer have enough to worry about – symptoms, side effects and treatment costs.
Being able to keep most of their natural hair is extremely empowering for our patients and provides a sense of control in a challenging time.”
Svedeman says that Chemo Cold Caps will continue to use Temptrol in the future.
“It is wonderful working with the Innovative Insulation team. They are always willing to answer any questions we have. We are thrilled we found a product that works so well for our patients. I can’t recommend Innovative Insulation enough.”