Design of a Scalp Cooling Device to Reduce Hair Loss during Chemotherapy


3M Team: Sofia Goodrich, Sarah Weber, Linda Son

2012-2013: In collaboration with 3M and three engineering students at Marquette University, this student team developed a scalp cooling device intended to reduce chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA).  Several scalp cooling technologies are currently available in Europe and Canada, but the U.S. has only one option, which neither maintains temperature nor can be used independently by patients.

The team benchmarked existing scalp cooling technologies and identified areas of opportunity in design. In parallel, the team developed a set of customer needs and target specifications based on interviews with potential customers and medical professionals.  The team generated multiple design concepts and selected two to develop further; one idea was an incremental improvement on an existing design, the other a radical innovation.  The team constructed physical prototypes of the two designs and verified them using experimental testing and mathematical modeling.  Both designs maintain temperature over time and space, enable patient mobility and independence, and can be integrated easily into the clinical setting.

The team delivered prototypes of both designs to 3M accompanied by verification results and recommendations for further development.  The team recommended that 3M further investigate the scalp-cooling market in the U.S. with either a low risk/incremental reward option or a high risk/high reward option.