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Dana-Farber/Provenge: Approval of prostate cancer immunotherapy-new era of cancer treatments
Date:4/29/2010

were randomly assigned to receive either Provenge, which is manufactured by the Dendreon Corporation of Seattle, or an inactive placebo. Compared to the placebo, Provenge extended a patient's median survival by 4.1 months, improved three-year survival by 38 percent, and reduced the overall risk of death by 22.5 percent.

Approval by the FDA means that Provenge will become available within the next year to prostate cancer patients who meet the criteria of having advanced, metastatic tumors that are hormone resistant. Because of the complexity of making the immunotherapy which must be individually produced for each patient there will be a six- to 12-month ramp-up period before it is available to all eligible patients. Patients should check with their doctors to determine if they're candidates for the vaccine, noted Kantoff, who is the director of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, chief of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology and chief clinical research officer at Dana-Farber, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Every year, more than 192,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States, and more than 27,000 die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. The number of men with metastatic, hormone-resistant prostate malignancies who might benefit from Provenge is in the tens of thousands.

Provenge is administered to patients three times over the course of a month. It is designed to fit in with other treatments that patients may be receiving.

"As scientists have learned more about the basic workings of the immune system, they've developed increasingly effective ways to exploit the immune response to cancer," Kantoff said. "Provenge is the first fruit of this endeavor to receive FDA approval the first of what we expect to be many more cancer immunotherapies in the future."

"We are beginning to see the results of years
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Contact: Teresa Herbert
teresa_herbert@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-5653
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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