July 1, 2011 |
Medicare is hemorrhaging money . And yet in the last few days, the program has decided to cover two mega-pricey medications with questionable benefits: Avastin for advanced breast cancer and Provenge for advanced prostate cancer. And those are just two examples. The roster of Medicare-covered drugs includes many treatments with big price tags but meager payoffs. Footing the bill for these drugs might seem like the compassionate thing to do. After all, not many patients could afford the roughly $100,000 for a year's worth of Avastin or the $93,000 for a full course of Provenge.
November 18, 2010 |
A Medicare review committee on Wednesday expressed lukewarm support for the prostate cancer drug Provenge, suggesting that the agency is likely to implement an agency-wide approval to pay for use of the drug for treating prostate cancer but will reject off-label uses. Provenge is the first anti-cancer vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has been shown to extend the life of prostate cancer victims by a median of 4.1 months, more than twice as long as chemotherapy, and to increase three-year survival by 38%. But that improvement comes at a steep price -- $93,000.
April 29, 2010 |
The Food and Drug Administration approved a new immune-boosting therapy for prostate cancer on Thursday, the first therapeutic vaccine for cancer ever approved by the agency. The approval opens the door to a whole new approach to cancer therapy, adding a unique weapon to the arsenal of oncologists. The vaccine, Provenge, has been shown to extend survival in patients with advanced prostate cancer by four months, more than twice as long as chemotherapy, and to increase three-year survival by 38%. "A lot of people have been working in labs, biotechs and pharma companies looking for a proof of principle" that immunotherapy works against cancer, said Dr. David I. Quinn, medical director of the USC Norris Cancer Hospital.
July 6, 2009 |
It's a deceptively simple idea: What if doctors could recruit the body's own immune system to fight cancer? The complexities of the immune system have kept this from becoming reality, until now. Three cancer vaccines -- for prostate cancer, melanoma and lymphoma -- have achieved positive results in so-called Phase 3 clinical trials -- the kind of studies that the Food and Drug Administration requires for a medicine to gain approval. At the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology held May 29 to June 2, researchers reported that a vaccine against follicular lymphoma, called BiovaxID, delayed remission after chemotherapy by more than one year, on average.
April 29, 2009 |
A controversial prostate cancer vaccine that previously had been rejected by the Food and Drug Administration improves survival of patients with the advanced form of the disease more than existing treatments and should be brought to market, researchers said Tuesday.
April 18, 2009 |
A prostate cancer vaccine produced by Dendreon Corp. of Seattle significantly improves survival, the company said Tuesday without releasing further details of the trial. The trial was designed to detect a minimum 22% increase in survival, and experts speculate it did at least that well. If the findings are upheld, the vaccine, called Provenge, could be the first cancer vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Provenge is a so-called therapeutic vaccine designed to treat the disease.