Men living with advanced prostate cancer now have an innovative treatment option new to Iowa and only at Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa—Hematology & Oncology.
June 3, 2011—CEDAR RAPIDS—A Cedar Rapids patient of Rasa Buntinas, MD of Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa—Hematology & Oncology recently became the first recipient of a groundbreaking cancer treatment. The practice is among the first sites in the nation, and very first in Iowa, to offer PROVENGE®, a new vaccine for the treatment of certain men with advanced prostate cancer that is designed to work differently from traditional hormone therapy or chemotherapy.
PROVENGE is the only prostate cancer immunotherapy to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and uses the patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer cells. Even though the body’s immune system works to defend against infection and disease, sometimes cancer cells can “hide” from the immune system. What makes this treatment so unique is that each dose of PROVENGE is completely personalized to consist of the individual’s own immune cells that have been activated to identify and attack prostate cancer cells. It is the first in a new class of therapy to use this approach.
Dr. Buntinas’ patient, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he’s honored and excited to be the first: “I’m just so grateful that this [treatment] is available to me right here. If not for PCI, I would have had to travel well over 100 miles away to either the Mayo Clinic or University of Wisconsin Hospital.” He went on to express his gratitude toward both Dr. Buntinas and the clinic staff for their compassion and dedication.
“When we say our mission is ‘bringing hope to life’ we mean it,” says Buntinas. “This patient’s cancer had spread to his bones and traditional hormone therapy wasn’t proving effective. He is an ideal candidate to receive this novel therapy.” Recognized as “clinical investigators” by the National Cancer Institute, PCI oncologists continue to focus on new ways to deliver better results. “Our team looked into becoming an authorized PROVENGE provider so that we could offer this therapy to him and other future patients,” said Buntinas.
In a clinical trial, the men who received PROVENGE had reduced their risk of death from prostate cancer by 22.5%. “We’re very excited to offer this advanced form of cancer therapy to our patients. The whole idea is to train the patient’s immune system to kill the cancer. The advantage is far fewer harsh side effects than traditional chemotherapy,” says Buntinas.
Treatment for this Iowa patient will be complete in June after just three infusion cycles, each given two weeks apart. Following treatment, Dr. Buntinas will track the patient’s progress through regular monitoring with blood work correlating with bone scans; she says “our goal is to delay the need for traditional chemotherapy while maintaining a good quality of life.”
About Prostate Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in the United States and the third most common cancer worldwide. More than two million men in the United States have prostate cancer, with an estimated 217,730 new cases and approximately 32,050 men expected to die from the disease in 2010.
Individuals interested in learning whether PROVENGE is an appropriate treatment option should contact Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa—Hematology & Oncology at (319) 297-2900.
About Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa
Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa, founded in Cedar Rapids in 1997, is one of the largest, private, multispecialty medical groups in Iowa. More than 70 board certified physicians, surgeons, and mid-level providers offer high quality medical care to eastern Iowa communities. For more information, visit www.pcofiowa.com.
In controlled clinical trials, serious adverse events reported in the PROVENGE group included acute infusion reactions (occurring within 1 day of infusion) and cerebrovascular events. Severe (Grade 3) acute infusion reactions were reported in 3.5% of patients in the PROVENGE group. Reactions included chills, fever, fatigue, asthenia, dyspnea, hypoxia, bronchospasm, dizziness, headache, hypertension, muscle ache, nausea, and vomiting. No Grade 4 or 5 acute infusion reactions were reported in patients in the PROVENGE group.
The most common adverse events (incidence ≥15%) reported in the PROVENGE group are chills, fatigue, fever, back pain, nausea, joint ache, and headache. Please see full prescribing information for PROVENGE at www.provenge.com.