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  • Avera Cancer Institute Approved To Offer Comprehensive PROVENGE® (sipuleucel-T) Treatment

Published on February 18, 2014

Avera Cancer Institute Approved To Offer Comprehensive PROVENGE® (sipuleucel-T) Treatment


Avera is the only site in the region to offer this therapy, offering hope for men with advanced prostate cancer


SIOUX FALLS (Feb. 18, 2014) – Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center and the Avera Cancer Institute are now approved to offer complete PROVENGE® therapy for men living with advanced prostate cancer.

PROVENGE, manufactured by Dendreon Corporation, is designed to stimulate a patient’s immune system to target prostate cancer cells. As an autologous cellular immunotherapy, each dose is made individually for every patient, using his own immune cells. The treatment involves both cell collection and then reinfusion of cells, repeated three times approximately every two weeks.

Avera Cancer Institute medical oncologists have been offering PROVENGE infusion since 2011, and now, Avera is the only site in this region to offer the collection of cells. This makes Avera the only PROVENGE comprehensive site in the region, with the next closest sites being Minneapolis, Des Moines and Omaha.  What this means is that men no longer need to travel to these locations to have their cells collected, but can have both the collection and reinfusion at Avera.

Avera McKennan’s Apheresis Unit collects immune cells from the patient through a process called leukapheresis. Collected cells immediately are shipped to a Dendreon manufacturing facility where the cells are manufactured into the patient’s own personal dose of PROVENGE. The immune cells are then given back to the patient as an infusible drug to fight advanced prostate cancer.

PROVENGE, the only FDA-approved prostate cancer immunotherapy, is not hormone therapy or chemotherapy. Even though the body’s immune system works to defend against infection and disease, sometimes cancer cells can “hide” from the immune system.  Each dose of PROVENGE is individualized 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. Mark Huber, Medical Oncologist with Avera Medical Group Oncology & Hematology, said the main benefit of the treatment is a four-month survival advantage, on average. Dr. Huber said. “It’s nice to be able to provide this new state-of-the-art treatment for this specific group of patients at Avera McKennan and the Avera Cancer Institute.”

In a PROVENGE clinical trial:

  • More men in the PROVENGE group were alive three years after the start of the study than men not treated with PROVENGE
  • PROVENGE reduced the risk of death by 22.5 percent for patients in the PROVENGE group
  • Only 1.5 percent of men discontinued treatment with PROVENGE due to side effects

Patients who qualify for this treatment are those with prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate and is resistant to hormonal treatment, with few or no cancer-related symptoms.

Dr. Huber said that while PROVENGE does not cure prostate cancer, it is clinically proven to help extend life in certain men with advanced prostate cancer. Side effects are generally mild to moderate, and most commonly include chills, fatigue, fever, back pain, nausea, joint ache and headache.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men, with an estimated 238,590 new cases diagnosed in 2013. More than 2 million men in the United States count themselves as prostate cancer survivors. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, with nearly 30,000 deaths annually. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

Individuals interested in learning more about PROVENGE should contact the Avera Cancer Institute at 605-322-3000. To learn more about the Avera Cancer Institute, visit



PROVENGE® (sipuleucel-T) is approved by the FDA as an autologous cellular immunotherapy for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castrate resistant (hormone refractory) prostate cancer.

Important Safety Information:

PROVENGE is made from your own immune cells. Your cells will be collected at a cell collection center approximately 3 days before each scheduled infusion of PROVENGE. There can be risks associated with the cell collection process, which you should discuss with your doctor before deciding to begin treatment with PROVENGE.

PROVENGE can cause serious reactions. In controlled clinical trials for the treatment of prostate cancer, serious reactions reported in patients in the PROVENGE group included reactions resulting from the infusion of the drug, which occurred within 1 day of infusion, and strokes. Severe infusion reactions included chills, fever, fatigue, weakness, breathing problems (shortness of breath, decreased oxygen level, and wheezing), dizziness, headache, high blood pressure, muscle ache, nausea, and vomiting. Tell your doctor right away if you have breathing problems, chest pains, racing heart or irregular heartbeats, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting after getting PROVENGE, because any of these may be signs of heart or lung problems.

The most common side effects reported with PROVENGE (sipuleucel-T) were chills, fatigue, fever, back pain, nausea, joint ache, and headache. These are not all the possible side effects of PROVENGE treatment.

For more information on PROVENGE, please see the full Prescribing Information or call 1-800-707-0742.