Preliminary results from a study on a vaccine made from the immune system cells of prostate cancer patients show it to be a promising. Dr. Johannes Vieweg, associate professor of urology and an assistant professor of immunology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, tested the vaccine on 13 men with metastatic prostate cancer.
The vaccine uses the men's own dendritic cells, extracted white blood cells (WBC) that activate the immune system by impeding substances that trigger an immune attack. These dendritic cells contain genetic information or RNA, a derivative of DNA, from a substance secreted by the prostate gland called prostate specific antigen. PSA, prostate-specific antigen levels increase in prostate cancer patients. These dendritic cells are then injected under the patient's skin to trigger immune system to destroy the tumor.
Patients received three doses of the vaccine at increased levels each time. Vieweg said four men developed flu-like symptoms and fever and four men experienced inflammation at the injection site, but overall, the vaccine was well tolerated. Vieweg points out this vaccine could have applications in other cancers, particularly kidney and skin cancer.