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Prostate cancer vaccine obtains final approval from FDA

One of the most dangerous forms of cancer for men is prostate cancer. It is frequently difficult to treat and due to its location within the pelvis, inoperative. For years, various treatments have been developed including the creation of a vaccine. However, the FDA has been reluctant to approve a vaccine due to concerns over possible side effects to the vaccine.

The approval of Provenge as a vaccine represents the first time that immune cells are collected from humans, treated by a drug to reprogram them to attack cancer cells, and reinsert them into the body to search out and destroy cancer cells. This approach to cancer treatment has been theorized and developed for years. Yet, this is the first time that this method of cancer treatment has been approved by the FDA for usage in the US.

This vaccine has been approved to treat only patients who have an advanced form of the disease which is resistive to standard forms of treatment. While the initial results in Provenge treatment are modest, there is great optimism that this approach to cancer treatment  will result in the development of many new vaccines for other cancer treatments.

Currently, Provenge has been demonstrated to prolong a patient's life by just over four months. The procedure requires taking blood from a patient, shipping it to a laboratory which adds a protein found in prostate cancer, and returns it to the patient for reinsertion by IV measures.

The treatment is still undergoing refinement but researchers are hopeful that this technology will mature into a greatly beneficial treatment program.

The medical process of learning to retrain the white blood cells to recognize tumors and to destroy them is essential to utilizing medicine to provoke a more natural approach to health and healing.

Current cost estimates for using Provenge in treatment is between $50,000 and $100,000 per patient. Since this is newly approved as a treatment method, there is speculation that insurance companies may refuse to pay for the treatment process. Yet, for over 100,000 Americans with prostate cancer, this is good news.

Provenage was developed by Dendreon of Seattle

One man's struggle with prostate cancer. 

Local Scene

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center offers prostate cancer treatment including tumors that are considered inoperable.

Nashville Prostate Cancer Centers and listing of Oncologist from WebMD

The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center offers prostate cancer treatment

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