Prostate cancer vaccines:

Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in
the prostate gland. The prostate is a
small, walnut-sized structure that
makes up part of a man's reproductive
system. It wraps around the urethra,
the tube that carries urine out of the

The Food and Drug Administration  
approved the first vaccine to treat
prostate cancer.
The $93,000/year vaccine, Provenge,
made by Dendreon, doesn't prevent
cancer. It also doesn't cure cancer.

Provenge aims to trigger an immune
response against the cancer cells by
zeroing-in on a protein made in large
quantities by prostate cancers, called
prostatic-acid phosphatase (PAP). The
vaccine contains a patient’s own blood
cells that have been modified to make
PAP. Clinical trials showed an average
four months' increase in survival time,
significantly better than current
alternative prostate cancer drugs.

DCVax is a competing vaccine from
Northwest Biotherapeutics.
Recently, Dr. Navid Malik of the
London-based Matrix Corporate
Capital released a bullish 40-page
report on Northwest, also highlighting
its compelling clinical data.

As Malik reveals, “Dendreon’s
Provenge was approved based on a
median survival of 25.8 months from
the IMPACT trial, compared with 38.7
months with DCVax-Prostate.”

Malik’s other key points:

•In terms of manufacturing, which
seems to be Dendreon’s Achilles heel
out of the gates, Northwest appears to
hold an advantage: “Its unique batch-
manufacturing process allows it to
produce, in a single manufacturing
run, at least three years of
treatments.” In comparison, Dendreon’
s manufacturing process produces
only one month of treatments (and
Dendreon considers that one month to
be a full course of treatments for a
•Malik’s report also highlights
Northwest’s greater product purity –
80% dendritic cells, compared to
Dendreon’s 15% dendritic and other
antigen-presenting products.
•Northwest’s DCVax-Prostate is also
easier to administer – intra-dermal (like
a flu shot), versus a one-hour
intravenous infusion for Provenge.