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Provenge approved by FDA fights prostate cancer by boosting immunity

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Provenge, now approved by the FDA, could be a major breakthrough for treatment of prostate cancer. The drug works by boosting immunity, making the drug unique in the way prostate cancer is treated. Provenge offers an option to chemotherapy for prostate cancer treatment.

Cancer therapy using immunotherapy is a new approach. Provenge is the first approved treatment that targets the immune system to treat cancer, though it is referred to as a prostate cancer vaccine.

According to Dr. Phil Kantoff, an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who assisted with Provenge studies,"The big news here is that this is the first immunotherapy to win approval, and I suspect within five to ten years immunotherapies will be a big part of cancer therapy in general."

Activating the body’s natural immune defenses is the target of Provenge, and the drug is anticipated to add to the arsenal of current treatments used for advanced prostate cancer.

Provenge is not designed to replace current therapies for prostate cancer treatment. "This is just one step in a new pathway for treating patients," said Dr. Simon Hall, chairman of urology at Mt. Sinai Hospital. "We have to make them realize this isn't a cure, it's very variable." Side effects of Provenge are mild, compared to chemotherapy.

In studies, lifespan was extended by four months for men with aggressive prostate cancer who were given Provenge, an improvement over Taxotere, the only other drug used to treat the disease. Researchers say that early initiation of therapy should provide better results, making prostate cancer screening important for early detection and outcomes. Provenge, just approved by the FDA, fights prostate cancer by boosting immunity, and is a major breakthrough for treatment of advanced disease. The Carolinas Cancer Center offers state-of-the art and personalized treatment options.

AP

Provenge and how it works.
 

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