Prostate Cancer Overview

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Treating Prostate Cancer TOPICS

Vaccine treatment for prostate cancer

Sipuleucel-T (Provenge®) is a cancer vaccine used to treat advanced prostate cancer. Most vaccines are designed to prevent diseases, but this vaccine is aimed at treating prostate cancer, not preventing it.

This vaccine is not mass produced. It has to be made special for each patient from his own blood cells. To make it, white blood cells are removed from the patient's blood and sent to a lab, where they are exposed to a certain protein from prostate cancer cells. These cells are then sent back to the doctor’s office and given back to the patient into a vein (IV). This process is done 2 more times, 2 weeks apart, so that the patient gets 3 doses of cells. In the body, the cells cause other immune system cells to attack the patient's prostate cancer.

Side effects tend to be mild and can include fever, chills, fatigue, back and joint pain, nausea, and headache. A few men had more severe symptoms, including problems breathing and high blood pressure, which improved after treatment.

Last Medical Review: 08/27/2013
Last Revised: 09/12/2014