Available by prescription only, PROVENGE is used to treat prostate cancer that is not adequately responding to other treatments. Each dose is made from a person's own immune cells, which helps stimulate the immune response to prostate cancer. The medication is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion every two weeks, for a total of three doses. Chills, fatigue, and fever are possible side effects.
PROVENGE is considered an autologous (obtained from you) cellular immunotherapy. This means it is made from a person's own immune cells. The cells are mixed with an active protein designed to help stimulate an immune response to prostate cancer.
PROVENGE is sometimes called a prostate cancer vaccine because it activates the immune system. Unlike vaccines used to prevent diseases, however, PROVENGE is used to treat prostate cancer that already exists in the body. It is not used to prevent prostate cancer.
PROVENGE is thought to work by stimulating the body's own immune system to attack prostate cancer cells. This is done by removing white blood cells from the body and exposing them to an antigen (a molecule that stimulates an immune response) that is made up of two important parts -- a protein found in most prostate cancer cells and a protein that activates the immune system. The white blood cells attack the antigen and display pieces of it on their surface.
When the white blood cells are introduced back into the bloodstream, they present the antigen pieces to T cells (a type of white blood cell). The T cells are now activated. Because they have been introduced to the protein found in prostate cancer cells, they are now able to recognize and attack the cancer.
PROVENGE Web site. Available at: http://www.provenge.com. Accessed July 13, 2011.
Food and Drug Administration Web site. Vaccines, Blood and Biologics, Approved Products. PROVENGE. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/CellularGeneTherapyProducts/ApprovedProducts/ucm210012.htm. Accessed July 13, 2011.
Food and Drug Administration Web site. Vaccines, Blood and Biologics, Resources for Healthcare Providers. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/ResourcesforYou/HealthcareProviders/default.htm. Access July 13, 2011.
Food and Drug Administration Web site. Vaccines, Blood and Biologics, Questions and Answers about PROVENGE. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/CellularGeneTherapyProducts/ApprovedProducts/ucm210037.htm. Accessed July 13, 2011.
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