The Federal Drug Administration approved Provenge, the first prostate cancer treatment vaccine of its kind.
The vaccine does not prevent nor cure prostate cancer, but helps men with advanced prostate cancer live four months longer, reports the newspaper. More than 32 percent of men given Provenge were alive after 3 years of beginning the treatment, as opposed to 23 percent who were given the placebo, Kantoff told the newspaper. According to the American Cancer Society, 192,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 and 27,000 did not survive.
The treatments are given in a series of three shots which administer a custom-made drug using the patients’ own cells, which train the immune system to recognize and destroy malignant cells, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Phillip Kantoff told USA Today.
Provenge is the first cancer vaccine to be approved by the FDA. A cancer vaccine of this nature provides patients with more time to seek additional treatment and make sure their affairs are in order regarding final wills and life insurance documentation.