FDA Approves Prostate Cancer Treatment

FDA has approved Provenge (sipuleucel-T), a 1) ___ for prostate cancer. It doesn’t prevent the disease, so vaccine is a bit of a misnomer, but it does do something that scientists have been trying to achieve for decades and it could be a game-changer. It offers a new way to attack the disease which could be deployed against other kinds of 2) ___. At present, however, it could help as many as 100,000 men with advanced prostate cancer. Three years ago, the FDA delayed a decision on this treatment, despite an expert panel’s recommendation for approval. According to the NY Times, WebMD and Bloomberg News, agency officials were concerned that, even though the vaccine extended 3) ___ in men with metastatic cancer who did not respond to hormone-deprivation therapy, it did not slow 4) ___ growth. The FDA also said that too few men had been studied and asked Dendreon to perform a larger trial in more than 500 men. During the trial, which involved 512 patients with advanced prostate cancer, Provenge increased overall 5) ___ by about four months, boosting median survival from 21.7 months to 25.8 months. Ongoing clinical trials are looking at whether Provenge might have more dramatic effects if given earlier in the course of prostate cancer. One of these studies is giving Provenge to men intending to undergo prostatectomy for prostate cancer that is still confined to the prostate 6) ___. Nevertheless, a full treatment will cost $93,000. Dendreon officials defended that price, saying it was in line with those of other cancer drugs in terms of cost per extra month of 7) ___ provided by the drug. The treatment will initially be available at about 50 sites used for clinical trials, and more widely distributed after four plants are cleared for use by mid-2011. The new approval is limited to the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is resistant to standard 8) ___ treatment.

ANSWERS: 1) vaccine; 2) cancer; 3) lifespan; 4) tumor; 5) survival; 6) gland; 7) life; 8) hormone

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