FDA Panel Passes First Cancer Vaccine

Prostate treatment recruits immune system to fight tumors
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Mar 30, 2007 11:20 AM CDT
FDA Panel Passes First Cancer Vaccine
Tony Glavan, 45, received injections in his legs as part of a new clinical trial of a vaccine researchers hope will trigger his immune system to destroy cancer cells. Making the injection is Pam Mader    (KRT Photos)

A cancer drug that's the first to harness the body's immune system to destroy tumors got a thumbs-up from  the FDA's advisory panel, the New York Times reports. If approved, Provenge, a prostate cancer treatment, would be the first of the "cancer vaccines"—experimental therapies that commandeer a patient's own white blood cells to fight tumors—to hit the market.

Provenge's success bucks the field's record of “disappointment and controversy,” notes a researcher, though it may not prove to be a home run.  While it prolonged patients lives an average of 4.5 months, it didn't eradicate tumors. It could be approved by the FDA as early as May. (Read more prostate cancer stories.)

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