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Biotech Medicine

FDA Approves Vaccine For Prostate Cancer 194

reverseengineer writes "The US Food and Drug Administration has given its first first approval for a therapeutic cancer vaccine. In a clinical trial 'involving 512 men, those who got Provenge (sipuleucel-T) had a median survival of 25.8 months after treatment, while those who got a placebo lived a median of 21.7 months. After three years, 32 percent of those who got Provenge were alive, compared with 23 percent of those who got the placebo. ... "The big story here is that this is the first proof of principle and proof that immunotherapy works in general in cancer, which I think is a huge observation," said Dr. Philip Kantoff, chief of solid tumor oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and the lead investigator in Dendreon's largest clinical trial for the drug. "I think this is a very big thing and will lead to a lot more enthusiasm for the approach."'"
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FDA Approves Vaccine For Prostate Cancer

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  • Re:Placebo Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:36PM (#32038626) Homepage Journal

    You are an idiot and have no clue what 'the placebo effect' even is, and some of the pills during her regiment are not medical effective and are there just to keep her in the habit. That is NOT a placebo effect.

    "Girls who get Pregnant like symptoms when they really want to be pregnant. People who catch an actual cold when they call in sick for work faking it"
    neither of those are a placebo effect.

    People like you are driving us back to the dark ages.

  • Re:Placebo Effect (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:39PM (#32038666)

    Are you suggesting that the results are due to a placebo effect? This is why the results were obtained using double-blind experiments, where both the researchers administrating the doses and the patients receiving them did not know which they were getting. It can't reasonably be claimed that the placebo effect was in any way causing the huge difference between those receiving medication and those who weren't.

  • Re:4 months? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CorporateSuit ( 1319461 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:40PM (#32038674)
    That was just the median. What you should focus on more is the 3-year survival rate: 34% vs 23% -- almost a 50% increase in long-term survival.
  • really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:53PM (#32038818)

    You got a (well conducted, well documented, and peer reviewed) study to cite on the saw palmetto helping cancer survival rates?

    Cause I'm pretty sure that's bullshit.

  • by CorporateSuit ( 1319461 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:54PM (#32038828)

    4. The caveat of #3 is that such treatments are expensive, and will get progressively more expensive based on the degree of testing and individualization required (until the wide use and technology make them cheaper of course). This will necessarily introduce a further divide into the available treatments for the rich and the poor, and contribute to the class struggle that's already rather inflamed. The problem is that there's no OTHER way - giving everyone $100'000 treatments would bankrupt us rather quickly. Instead, similar to the case with electronics, we will simply have to suffer through the period of expensive first-adopter treatments, until the improvements in laboratory techniques and high-throughput testing make such treatments increasingly affordable.

    But they can't. When Western Digital finally comes out with a Petabyte drive, it will cost a high price, but the next week, Seagate comes out with a Petabyte drive. Competition increases, prices drop, and the drives become increasingly affordable. In medicine, the patents are extended a little further. The patent holder can charge whatever he wants, because he needs to make back the money he spent on risky research, but for the next n+[too many] years, he gets to hold the sick of the world hostage. Well, what if company B wants to design a competitor drug?

    1. Good luck to them.
    2. View the #2 in your post. They have to struggle in a market that's immediately artificially saturated by Company A's wonder drug. This is like Pepsi trying to show up and claim "we can quench your thirst", but regulations say that, for the first n number of years, people have to drink a full coke before they can drink a Pepsi. Hope you're still thirsty after that coke, and if you're not, then hopefully the pepsi will quench your thirst when the coke did not!

    And there, spelled out in soda, we have the well-meaning recipe for disaster in American healthcare -- the one that isn't fixed by the government plan, but needs to be before the government plan sends us headlong into a depression because of this unresolved bug.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:07PM (#32038948)

    I mean, if your'e poor, why should you get equivalent healthcare resources to someone who's not?

    If you really think that we're not rationing healthcare in the US, you're either astoundingly naive or deliberately ignorant. We just do it according to who can pay for it or who has a job where the benefits will cover treatment. Unlike France, Germany, the UK, and Canada where they ration according to need, which is totally bullshit, cause rich people deserve to live more than everyone else, cause they're the best part of society.

    You're just dumb as fuck.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:55PM (#32039324)
    I am currently in a country with socialized medicine. The grandparents of my wife came to witness the birth of their great-grandson. My wife is anemic on a good day. She's turned away from donating blood almost every time unless she remembers to take an iron pill the day before and eat an abnormally large breakfast. In pregnancy, it gets worse. When she had a kid in the US, they held her in the hospital because her count was low. They wouldn't let her go. She had no symptoms of anything, but they didn't release her until her insurance ran out, then, without having the issue fixed, they discharged her. They treated the "disease" of anemia without regard to the patient. There were no symptoms and no reason to hold her other than one test.

    In this country, she was anemic the whole time of pregnancy, including during and after birth. She was asked whether she had symptoms. She suffered no dizziness, no fainting, or anything else. So they cleared her for release while failing a blood test. Her grandmother had a fit. She gets a new pill for every test she fails (regardless of whether it is even causing her symptoms) so, by God, that's just how it's done. To not give my wife something was neglect or malpractice or something, according to Grandma. I'd be interested in seeing the average number of pills per week of an American vs a European. My perception is that the US will be leading by far, even though the live expectancy doesn't reflect any better care.

    In the US, they treat the test results, regardless of the condition of the patient. Outside the US, they treat the patient, using the test results as a tool to that end. That difference alone is a major factor as to why the US has the most expensive health care on the planet, yet a middle of the pack (for industrialized nations) life expectancy. Cutting the medication of everything, and instead identify problems with patients (rather than just failed tests) and treat the person, not just the diseases will reduce cost and improve care.

    But, the "easy way" is to give a pill for every failed test and then you can't be sued. That takes less time and effort too. The cost isn't borne by either the doctor or the patient, so neither really care it isn't cost effective. And you get an over-medicated society in poor health. I'd guess that Obama's comment is along those lines, where he wants to cut costs and improve service at the same time.

    P.S. Comp Sci. Comp Eng is 50% comp sci and 50% EE, so EE+comp sci is everything comp eng can do plus more.
  • Re:4 months? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:29PM (#32039580)
    you lost me when you started talking about herbal cancer cures. what a load of shit.
  • Re:Again... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:13PM (#32040242) Homepage Journal

    Again fucking statistics used as proof. No knowledge of how chemicals interact within the body, how and why the reactions that cause cancer occur, no fucking nothing. Just the damn statistics.

    Again someone who has no idea how drug development and clinical trials work shooting his mouth off.

  • Re:Again... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:50AM (#32040782) Homepage Journal

    Is that not his point? He wants to know more about how the drugs were developed and why they work they way they do.

    No, I don't think he does. His contempt for the single most important item to be reported in any clinical trial says he doesn't really give a damn, but just wants to indulge in an ill-informed rant.

  • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:24AM (#32042310)

    Nicotine is a serotonine inhibitor, people with above average levels of this hormone tend to react emotionally, have trouble coping etc. (it's a known cause of at least some types of ADD). Among such people Caffeine and Nicotine addiction is incredibly common because it's effectively self-medicating. Caffeine doesn't inhibit serotonine but counteracts it a bit and helps focus, nicotine reduces it again helping focus and concentration.
    This effect of course is completely zeroed out if you don't HAVE a naturally high serotonine level but there's a reason so many geeks and artists smoke and have among the lowest rates of successfully quitting. People with high serotonine are also highly creative and individualistic and thus drawn to such professions. With these legal drugs, they can balance the pro's and cons without it, they have serious difficulty adjusting and operating well - to them the "withdrawel effects" is huge. I put it in quotes because it isn't, the withdrawel is no worse than for any other person quitting, but it's massively aggravated by the fact that (probably for the first time since they were teenagers) they aren't supressing their serotonine levels.

    It's easy to judge and generalize.

    Personally - I rate being able to get through the day without acting irrationally, excessively emotionally and being able to concentrate on my job for the next 40 years or so rather higher than the risk of living ten years less. It's genuinely a case of - as a smoker, my quality of life is so MUCH higher, that I'll accept the side-effects. Especially since those drugs that can have the same effect tend to have too much of it (thus removing the PRO'S of my serotonine level as well) and besides, generally have side effects not much better than those of ciggies (and frankly, they happen right NOW, not 30 years down the line).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:14AM (#32043842)

    That argument doesn't make much sense. Why not just get nicotine via gum or patch? Nicotine by itself is actually not much worse than caffeine. It's the smoke and other crap that causes lung cancer. If you can get the nicotine without the smoke, why wouldn't you do that if your goal is just to self medicate?

  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @01:21PM (#32046534)
    Because it is a just a way to rationalize a vice.

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