3/30/2007: Hope for a Vaccine


WASHINGTON, DC Thursday, March 29 -- Federal health advisers have endorsed an experimental vaccine to treat advanced prostate cancer as safe and effective. The Food and Drug Administration advisers voted unanimously Thursday to say Provenge is safe. They then voted 13-4 to say there is substantial evidence that it works in treating advanced prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone treatment.

The FDA isn't required to follow the advice of its advisory committees, but it usually does. A final FDA decision on whether to approve Provenge, also called sipuleucel-T, is expected May 15. The vaccine is made by Seattle-based Dendreon Corp. MORE

This was a major week for cancer headline news with reports about President Bush's press secretary Tony Snow having a recurrence of his colon cancer and Elizabeth Edwards reporting on the relapse of her cancer. High profile celebrities are doing a good job of creating attention for a dreadful condition that now affects and will affect one in three families in this generation.

The promise of a vaccine for ALL cancers is really the only hope for a cure for most cancers. Of course, the major attention in all cancer research is on lung, colon, breast, and other sites that dominate the occurence of this disease. Lymphoma, particularly mantle cell, is far down the list and the prospects of a vaccine for this malady depend upon a long and unlikely chain of breaks and developments in the vast world of cancer research.

Still, we are not without hope or optimism.

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