New biologic drug made by Dendreon. This targets prostate cancer and costs roughly 18,000 pounds or $27,000 US a month. The mean increased survival time in research was 4 months (Impact Phase III trial). As with all biologics some patients may survive much longer the manufacturers web site quotes a trial with greater survival but this is controversial according to Wikipedia.
This type of treatment is called Autologous Cellular Immunotherapy. It is a Therapeutic Vaccine; a dendritic cell vaccine.
The Dendreon web site for Provenge (which seems dangerously close to the overclaim of wonder drug) states that cancer cells can hide from your immune system, but Provenge trains your bodys immune system to seek out and attack prostate cancer cells.
The drug is applicable to people that
Are on hormone therapy and have a rising PSA
Have a confirmed spread beyond the prostate
Are not taking narcotics for cancer-related pain
The treatment involves three doses given two weeks apart.
Each dose is prepared from the patients blood, which is drawn over a 4 hour period. Certain white cells are removed. Special centres are required for this. The cells are then sent away from modification and the dose prepared. It is administered about 3 days later.There can be risks with the cell collection process.
In Clinical Trials some people experienced severe side effects such as severe fever, dizziness, problems in breathing and high blood pressure, on top of the usual nausea, fatigue and sickness. Almost 2 per cent of patients have to stop the treatment.