As a follow up to yesterday’s news about the positive results announced about Provenge, I have received a number of private emails asking questions about the treatment. I hope that the following will answer many of the questions people might still have about Provenge.
• The other name for Provenge is sipuleucel-T.
• Provenge is not considered a cure, but it is a treatment that will help extend life.
• Provenge does not directly kill the cancer cells, it trains your own immune cells to
learn to kill the cancer.
• Provenge has very few side effects – fewer than hormone therapy.
• Provenge may have long term benefits we haven’t fully measured yet.
• It will be months, maybe a year, before the drug is actually approved by the FDA
and made available to survivors.
• If and when FDA approved, Provenge will LIKELY be for men with more advanced
disease who are (1) hormone-refractory and (2) metastatic. That is how the drug
was studied, and that is the data has been reviewed and considered.
• We assume that additional trials will be started to evaluate Provenge with men with
• Provenge is administered using a protocol called pheresis. White blood cells are
removed from the survivor and shipped to a plant where an antigen is attached to the
cell surface. The white blood cells are then returned into the survivor.
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW