Provenge Stimulates Immunity Against Prostate Cancer
A new treatment therapy for men with advanced prostate cancer is being heralded as revolutionary because it the first of its kind to use a patient’s own immune system to fight the disease. Provenge (sipuleucel-T), recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 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.
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 the patient’s 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, manufactured by Seattle-based Dendreon Corp., is administered intravenously in a three-dose schedule given at about two-week intervals.