Researchers in Singapore have partnered with Paxman Coolers (U.K.) to develop a device to prevent or reduce numbness and pain caused by chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a severe side-effect of chemotherapy drugs called taxanes, which are used to treat common cancers such as breast, lung, ovarian and stomach cancer. CIPN affects about 1.4 million cancer patients globally every year, according to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Few prevention and treatment strategies exist for CIPN. Recently, cryotherapy (or cooling) of the limbs during chemotherapy has demonstrated a protective effect by preventing or reducing CIPN severity. However, the currently used frozen gloves or ice packs are not user-friendly, deliver unstable cooling and can cause severe frostbite, according to a news release from Paxman. The company is a longtime maker of scalp-cooling devices to prevent hair loss in chemotherapy patients.
A team of clinicians and scientists from the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) at the National University Hospital (NUH) and the N.1 Institute for Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has partnered with Paxman to develop a portable limb cryocompression device to prevent CIPN in cancer patients. The researchers have studied various proof of concept aspects of the cryocompression technology over the past eight years and selected Paxman to commercialize the technology.
The research team has been awarded government funding in Singapore and will begin pilot studies in Q2 2022 to investigate the device in healthy volunteers and in cancer patients undergoing CIPN-causing chemotherapy. The efficacy of prevention will be monitored using various clinical and patient-reported outcomes.
“This funding is a testimony to the high impact the new product will have on the quality of life for cancer patients receiving taxane-based therapies, not only in Singapore but throughout the world,” said Paxman CEO Richard Paxman. “It will allow our collaborative team not only to crucially accelerate the research and development process but will also significantly de-risk the project from a commercial perspective.
“Paxman is determined, not only to provide patient access to scalp cooling technology to prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss globally, but now also to give patients the chance to reduce or prevent the debilitating side effect of peripheral neuropathy,” the CEO added. “We bring to this collaboration extensive expertise in design, development, manufacture, regulatory approval, along with experience of commercialising medical cooling devices.”