You may have heard about Provenge (also known as Sipuleucel-T), which is the only immunotherapy vaccine currently FDA-approved for the treatment of late-stage prostate cancer. Like other immunotherapy drugs, it uses a patient’s own immune system to attack the cancer cells. The vaccine is usually given to men who have early metastasis and are not responding to androgen deprivation therapy.
The treatment involves taking immune cells out of the patient’s body, exposing them to proteins made by the tumor and then putting those cells back to fight the cancer. The vaccine is showing “phenomenal responses” according to Dr. Stephen Freedland, Director of the Center for Integrated Research in Cancer and Lifestyle at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.