Cancer Vaccine ? Provenge for Prostrate Cancer
When the FDA first approved Provenge (sipuleucel-T) for men with metastatic prostate cancer there was a lot of controversy surrounding the benefits, the treatment might provide.
Let’s understand how this vaccine works:
Provenge is personalized medicine in the true sense of the word, it is manufactured from a man’s own immune cells, white blood cells. These cells are modified and sensitized against prostate cancer and then a man’s own sensitized cells are returned to him to fight the cancer.
The first step is to have a procedure call a Leukapheresis which involves the removal of a small percentage, only about 1%, of a man’s white blood cells (aka – immune cells, dendritic cells, killer cells, T cells).
This Leukapheresis process involves the use of a port or the use of a line in one arm to remove some blood (just like when you are donating blood) and another line that returns the blood minus the harvested white blood cells. Once a bag of white blood cells is obtained the bag is shipped to a processing plant where the white blood cells go through a process that sensitives them to “see” prostate cancer cells as cancer that should be eliminated. The sensitized cells are then shipped back and returned via an infusion to the man who donated them.
This process is repeated two additional times, with a total of three infusions. These three infusions are usually completed in just one month.
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