What is immunotherapy?
Cancer may develop when the immune system breaks down or is not functioning adequately. Immunotherapy (also called biological therapy and biotherapy) uses the body's immune system to fight cancer.
Common types of immunotherapy include:
- Monoclonal antibodies: These are man-made versions of immune system proteins. Antibodies can be very useful in treating cancer because they can be designed to attack a very specific part of a cancer cell.
- Cancer vaccines: Vaccines are substances designed to trigger an immune response in the body against certain diseases.
- Non-specific immunotherapies: These treatments stimulate the immune system in a general way to increase activity against cancer cells. Some examples include man-made versions of cytokines, a chemical in immune cells, such as interleukins and interferons.
Immunotherapy may also be used to reduce the side effects caused by some cancer treatments.
Immunotherapy for prostate cancer
Immunotherapy is a promising treatment for prostate cancer, including advanced or recurrent forms of the disease. Your care team at CTCA uses a variety of immune-based strategies to eliminate a prostate cancer tumor and prevent its recurrence.
This treatment method may be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as radiation therapy and hormone therapy.
Provenge® is an immunotherapy treatment for prostate cancer that harnesses the power of the patient’s own immune system to identify and target prostate cancer cells. Each dose is manufactured specifically for each patient using his immune cells.
CTCA is among the first sites in the nation to treat advanced prostate cancer patients with Provenge, the first FDA-approved autologous cellular immunotherapy.
Provenge is an FDA-approved treatment that uses the body's own immune system to fight the disease. This is also known as autologous cellular immunotherapy. The immune system is made up of immune cells that are found in your own blood. These cells work as the body's natural defense against all types of illness, including prostate cancer.
Since Provenge is an immunotherapy treatment that helps the immune system fight disease, each dose is made specifically for each patient. The personalized dose of Provenge consists of the patient’s own immune cells that have been trained to seek and attack prostate cancer cells. By stimulating the natural ability of immune cells already in the blood, Provenge may improve a patient's prognosis.
What types of prostate cancer does Provenge immunotherapy treat?
- Asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castrate resistant (hormone refractory) prostate cancer
- Patients cannot have moderate to severe prostate cancer pain (or be on narcotics for cancer-related pain)
- Metastases must be limited to bone or soft tissue only (no lung, liver or brain metastases)
- Patients cannot have had chemotherapy in the previous three months
- The patient must be able to perform tasks necessary for daily living
Provenge immunotherapy treatment typically takes six weeks, and is administered in three infusions every two weeks.