Men and women receiving chemotherapy endure a host of troublesome side effects that affect their ability to perform simple activities of daily living. One, rather distressing, toxicity is nail damage (Onycholysis), which can affect up to half especially those receiving a commonly used category of drug called taxanes1,2,3. Initially the nails feel hot, sensitive and painful, then ridges appear followed by splitting and separation of the nail from the nail bed. This breakdown of the normal anatomy leads to secondary fungal and bacterial infection that causes further misery and damage.
- Enhance DNA repair
- Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal
- Moisturising and hydrating
There was a 180 fold difference in patient recorded QOL and an 11 fold difference in physician recorded disfigurement but both differences were highly statistically significant in all scores (unpaired T-test p<0.00001). There were no reported allergies or adverse events related to either creams. Only patients in the polybalm group had some nail changes also suffered from other severe chemotherapy complications including neutropenic sepsis, diarrhea and peripheral neuropathy13.
This study was audited to comply with good clinical practice guidelines and Cambridge University Central Research Ethics Committee approval. It was registered with the Health Research Authority. The balms were made specifically for this study by a UK registered manufacturer and European product cosmetic test were performed to fully comply with European Union Cosmetics Standards (ref: 76/768/EEC). No member of the research team received payments to recruit patients into the study. Although this was a scientific evaluation, the FDA and MHRA classed them as a cosmetic, so cannot be recommended for any medical condition or claim health benefits. The investigation balm should not be considered as an alternative medical treatment and should not be used against medical advice. The protocol was in the public domain and the balm, named after the clinical trial, is now distributed by an independent organization (polybalm.com) that has no connection to the trials unit.
- Minisini AM et al: Taxane-induced nail changes. Ann Oncol 14:333-337, 2003
- Battegay EJ: Angiogenesis: Mechanistic insights. J Mol Med 73:333-346, 1995
- Wasner G et al: Docetaxel-induced nail changes: J Neurooncol 58:167-174, 2002
- Ding & Thomas: Cooling for chemo onycholysis. Clin Foc Can Med 2(1):18, 2010
- Scottie: Frozen glove to prevent docetaxel onycholysis. JCO 23(19) 4424, 2005
- Ishiguro: Freezing for docetaxel nail toxicity. Sup Care Can 20:2017-2024, 2012
- Delaquis: Antimicrobial activity of plant oils. Int J Food Microbiol 74(1):101 2002
- Smith-Palmer: Antimicrobial plant oils. Applied Microbiol 26(2):118-22, 2002
- Baratta: Antimicrobial & antioxidant essential oils. Flav & Frag J 13(4):235, 2001
- Radava. Herbs protect cells from UV radiation Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 5(10): 164
- Mao-Qiang: Topical plant extracts & inflammation. Evid Based Com Alte Med. 2012
- Baliga: Chemoprevention of botanicals. Phytochem Photobiol Sci. 2006, 5(2):243.
- Thomas R et al. A double blind RCT of a polyphenolic rich plant balm for onycholysis – the UK Polybalm Trial. 2017 ASCO Proceedings Abstract:101003