It is thought that this is a development significant enough to herald a new era in the field of cancer therapy: the approval of the first cancer therapy that looks to use the patient’s own immune system to fight cancerous tumors.
The FDA has approved a new drug called Provenge. This drug is also known as the cancer vaccine because it acts to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight against advanced malignant tumors that a person with prostate cancer may be suffering from.
Approval for this drug has been awaited for a long time and has been welcomed by patients as well as researchers even though the drug will in effect prolong the life of a sufferer only by a few months.
According to Karen Midthun, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Provenge will offer options to those with advanced prostate cancer, who have few options remaining for them.
Whereas regular vaccines are given before a person gets sick or to prevent them getting sick; the cancer vaccine is therapeutic in nature and will serve to attack cancerous cells in the body. It is hoped that this approval will pave the way for more similar approvals in the future.
Source: Washington Post