Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Vaccine for Prostate Cancer?? Not Exactly...

When headlines emerged last week touting the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the very first prostate cancer vaccine, I couldn't wait for the opportunity to share the news with you. The media is hailing this new drug, called Provenge, as an effective prostate cancer vaccine. However, this drug is another form of treatment, not a means to prevent or cure prostate cancer.

So what is Provenge?

According to reports, this "vaccine" has been proven to help men suffering with advanced forms of prostate cancer to live approximately four months longer than men given placebo shots under the same conditions. In a three-year trial of 512 men, 32 percent of those who received the vaccine were still alive by the end of the study—compared with only 23 percent who were given a placebo. The study authors note that this is a longer life expectancy than has been previously achieved with the chemotherapy drug Docetaxel, which helps patients to live approximately 2.4 months longer, and remains the gold standard treatment for men with resistant forms of prostate cancer.

Provenge achieves this effect in a series of three shots, which are designed using a cancer patient's own cells, with the purpose of "training" the immune system to identify and destroy malignant cancer cells. Since cancer cells have the particularly insidious ability to hide from your immune system, this strategy obviously plays a very critical role in the fight against this deadly disease. However, in the case of Provenge, it also comes with a number of very unsettling drawbacks.

One out of four men in this trial reported at least one serious side effect—an overwhelming statistic by any standard. In fact, 3.5 percent of those men taking Provenge suffered a stroke—compared to just 2.6 percent of those who received a placebo—and many of those same men also suffered other more mild symptoms, such as fever, chills, and headaches.

What's worse, two earlier trials delivered far less conclusive results than what this most recent study suggests—revealing that that while Provenge may contribute to a modest increase in life expectancy, it doesn't actively shrink tumors. When you consider these facts, it becomes even harder to see how the marginal benefits of this treatment outweigh the obvious (and potentially deadly) risks.

Nevertheless, at a price tag of approximately $93,000 for the total three-shot vaccine series, it's clear that there is a lot of money to be made from Provenge's recent FDA approval—profits that could add up to as much as 1.5 billion dollars every year for the vaccine's manufacturer, Dendreon.

It is up to you as the patient to decide whether Provenge's potential benefits are worth the serious side effects it could cause. But I will tell you that there are other clinically supported ways to improve your chances against prostate cancer, while boosting your quality of life at the same time.

Regular supplementation with a clinically proven form of modified citrus pectin(MCP) is just one of those methods. In a recent trial of 49 late-stage cancer patients (all with metastasized solid tumors that had not responded to conventional treatments), results showed that 5 grams of MCP, administered orally three times a day, delivered significant improvements in both clinical benefit and disease stabilization for more than 20 percent of the subjects within just eight weeks. The most impressive outcome, however, was seen in one patient with metastasized prostate cancer: This patient experienced a near-miraculous 50 percent decrease in PSA levels within sixteen weeks, accompanied by a significant increase in quality of life.

Of course, there are also a number of other safe, natural, and very effective tools available to you in the fight against prostate cancer—including medicinal mushrooms, and poly-botanical nutritional formulas—many of which are supported by published clinical research, and all of which I have seen deliver remarkable results in my own patients, year after year.

So before you decide whether you or someone you love should move forward with the new Provenge "vaccine," I urge you to read my report on integrative solutions for prostate cancer, which you can download for free. You will no doubt find that your options are indeed much wider than the pharmaceutical industry would ever have you believe.

1 comment:

  1. Seems like a permanent cure for prostrate cancer is going to take a long time. Men are also not able to detect this disease at an early stage because the symptoms such as difficulty in urination, increased frequency of urination (especially at night), pain while passing urine, pain in the lower abdomen and back etc can be confused with some other disorder. Lately, the government and other medical health organizations are trying to spread awareness regarding this disease in a bid to cure it. Also there are many researches underway which are trying to come up with a medicine. However, the vaccine sipuleucel-T for prostrate cancer has grabbed the headlines as it had the potential to develop immunity against this disease. More at