Mount Sinai Helps Develop New Prostate Cancer Treatment

Treatment harnesses immune system to defeat cancer cells.

 – June 3, 2010 /Press Release/  –– 

Physicians at Mount Sinai’s Deane Prostate Health and Research Center have been instrumental in the development of a new treatment for advanced prostate cancer. Approved on April 29, 2010, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, this treatment, Provenge®, represents a significant scientific and clinical advance in that it harnesses a patient’s own immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. This is the first time such an approach has been approved for the treatment of any cancer.

Provenge® was approved for treatment of men with advanced prostate cancer who meet specific medical criteria, specifically widespread disease that has further advanced despite standard therapy.

How it works 

Although Provenge has been described as a vaccine, it does not prevent prostate cancer. This is how it works: 

1. Dendritic cells, which are responsible for initiating an immune response, are collected from a patient and sent to a manufacturing facility to be activated against prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), a protein made only by prostate cells.
2. Three days later, the cells are infused back into the patient to result in an immune response against prostate cancer cells. Patients get three of these infusions three weeks apart. 

In about half of all cases, patients experience flu-like side effects such as fever, chills, muscle aches and fatigue lasting as long as 48 hours. 


The Dendreon Corporation, which developed PROVENGE, intends to make it available through approximately 50 medical centers nationwide that were approved clinical trial sites for the treatment. Mount Sinai is one of those centers. The Provenge trial here was conducted under the guidance of Simon J. Hall, M.D., Chairman, Department of Urology, and Director of the Barbara and Maurice Deane Prostate Health and Research Center.