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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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  • wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:36PM (#32038634) Homepage Journal

    jenny mccarthy told me vaccines give me prostate cancer

    no thanks, i'll pass. i get my health advice from mtv hosts

  • I also hope it gets rid of prostate exams :)

    • It won't, because it does not prevent cancer. It is used when you have an advanced stage of cancer, and all other methods fail (including chemical castration). It's only a vaccine in the sense that it teaches your body to fight off the cancer, not in the sense that it prevents it. So you'll still be getting those exams.
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        I don't think you're seeing the bigger picture. That's what it has been approved for now. Give it ten years and they might be giving treatments like this one to people prophylactically the moment their PSA count starts up, just in case. And eventually, that could eliminate the need for any of those other treatments you mentioned.

  • Provenge? (Score:4, Funny)

    by adenied ( 120700 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:57PM (#32038866)

    I'm trying to figure out if "Provenge" is the most awesome or terrifying name for a drug I've ever heard. Also from the wikipedia page it "consists of a mixture of the patient's own blood cells" and their special "fusion protein".

    I'm going with terrifyingly awesome!

    I just hope the commercials feature Chuck Norris.

  • by FiloEleven ( 602040 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:08PM (#32039444)

    As someone who got hooked on ciggies about six years ago and actually enjoys the habit, news like this is promising to me. I hope the science behind this vaccine can be generalized to other forms of cancer, including lung cancer. I understand the reasons for banning smoking all over the place for reasons other than health, but it would be great to have advances in health technology to negate the effects of smoking. Since I have yet to quit and am not motivated to try again, I'm kind of banking on it.

    • lung cancer isn't the only health effect of smoking you know, stroke and cardiovascular are also high risk if you smoke. frankly i can't see the attraction of smoking, it's expensive risky and what does it give you? a high? choke yourself for 30 seconds it'll give you the same head rush.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sjames ( 1099 )

        Nicotine does have cognitive enhancing effects and can also act as an anti-psychotic (in fact the only one that doesn't have potentially devastating side effects). Nicotine also helps considerably with irritable bowel syndrome. Smoking is a rough way to administer it though.

        E-cigarettes are a much kinder and gentler route of administration, but sadly the FDA and the American Lung Association (of all things) seems determined to ban those so people go back to smoking cigarettes.

        Proper snus might be good (I've

      • 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 TheLink ( 130905 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:48PM (#32040460) Journal

      But smokers dying earlier helps reduce the "aging population" problem. It reduces the costs on average - since everyone is going to die anyway, and many nonsmokers still eventually get expensive to treat diseases (live long enough and you'll get something :) ).

      Plus if the tobacco taxes are high enough, you can get smokers to pay for other stuff as well[1]

      As a nonsmoker, I think smoking is good economics. Drug money and all that :). All these smoking bans (in restaurants, pubs etc) seem rather stupid to me. Just tax places that allow smoking higher compared to those that don't, then you won't lose another revenue opportunity ;).

      [1] I saw some stats in the UK where the smokers cost the UK healthcare system 3 to 5 billion every year. But the tobacco tax revenue is 10 billion a year! [] [] []

    • >As someone who got hooked on ciggies about six years ago and actually enjoys the habit

      Of course you enjoy it. You're addicted to a chemical that affects mood. Your brain is forced to enjoy it. Enjoy!

      • There is of course much truth to that. Yet I hear many smokers say "I don't even enjoy it anymore, I just feel shitty without it." That's not me. In fact I've gone on week-long trips where I could not smoke and had no problem doing so, no cravings or anything. Perhaps I'm just not to that point yet, or perhaps the nicotine affects different people differently.


        Thank you, I will. =)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Inda ( 580031 )
      I said the same thing 22 years ago...
  • by ISoldat53 ( 977164 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:41PM (#32039672)
    Dendreon said Thursday the drug will cost $93,000 per patient. Their stock was up today.
    • by TheLink ( 130905 )
      The deciding factor to me would be how many of those 32% have a good quality of life vs the 23%?

      If they are all still in a bad state - just clinging on to life rather than seemingly healthy, I'd rather spend the 93K on making the last few months/years of my life more pleasant.

      Or give it to some loved ones to have a nice holiday, if I'm in already a too screwed up a state to enjoy it much. Or give it to some charity.
    • Oh, sorry. Missed the dollar sign. As you were...

  • sex (Score:2, Funny)

    by mikey177 ( 1426171 )
    well research shows that the more you have sex and masturbate when you are young increases your chance of prostate canacer, and with teens having sex at a younger and younger age i think this company will be making some good money from this later down the road. []
  • My father did of prostrate cancer, it his last years has horrible. The figures show Immuotherapy helps a bit but clearly its a long way from a cure. I hope medicine but enhance Immuotherapy to make it much more effective and extend it to other cancers.

Disks travel in packs.