Thursday, April 29, 2010

FDA Approves a Cellular Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer

Here's a new way to combat cancer: use your own immune system to fight the tumor. The FDA just approved a new therapy called Provenge and here are some snippets from the press release today:
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Provenge (sipuleucel-T), a new therapy for certain men with advanced prostate cancer that uses their own immune system to fight the disease.
  • Provenge is indicated for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is resistant to standard hormone treatment.
  • “The availability of Provenge provides a new treatment option for men with advanced prostate cancer, who currently have limited effective therapies available,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., acting director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
  • Provenge is an autologous cellular immunotherapy, designed to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to respond against the cancer. Each dose of Provenge is manufactured by obtaining a patient’s immune cells from the blood, using a machine in a process known as leukapheresis. To enhance their response against the cancer, the immune cells are then exposed to a protein that is found in most prostate cancers, linked to an immune stimulating substance. After this process, the patient’s own cells are returned to the patient to treat the prostate cancer. Provenge is administered intravenously in a three-dose schedule given at about two-week intervals.
  • Provenge is manufactured by Seattle-based Dendreon Corp.
To learn more, visit the FDA website here.

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