Friday, April 30, 2010

FDA approves PROVENGE, now the hard part

SEATTLE – (Cancer Digest) – The FDA today approved Dendreon's PROVENGE® for treating men with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, but produces no symptoms and does not respond to hormone blockade therapy.

Now the hard part comes for these men. Questions of who gets the treatment will surely spark further intense debate about healthcare in the U.S. The individualized treatment depends on Dendreon's laboratory ability to grow each patient's immune cells, and until greater capacity is built, Dendreon can accommodate only 2,000 patients per year. Only 50 hospitals, initially, will be able to offer the treatment, and if you are one of the lucky ones, the cost is estimated at about $93,000 for one course of the treatment that has been shown to extend survival of advanced cancer by a few months at best. How it all plays out will be interesting to watch.

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