MSCC First site in South Florida to provide new prostate cancer treatment

By Joanna Palmer….
The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center is the FIRST site in South Florida to treat advanced prostate cancer patients with a new cellular immunotherapy treatment called PROVENGE®, the first in a new therapeutic class known as autologous cellular immunotherapies. Mount Sinai is one of only 50 sites throughout the country and, currently, the ONLY site in South Florida offering this new, innovative treatment for prostate cancer.

Provenge was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is a restorative, not preventive, treatment for prostate cancer.  It is an autologous (made from a patient’s own immune cells) cellular immunotherapy designed to stimulate a patient’s immune system to identify and target prostate cancer cells. Patients’ cells are collected, infused with an antigen then helps activates the patient’s T-cells to help fight the prostate cancer cells, and then placed back via an IV into the patient. Patients receive three infusions, two weeks apart. Each dose is manufactured and customized specifically for each patient using his immune cells so no two doses are ever the same.

Clinical trials have shown that the benefits of this treatment include an extended survival rate, improved importance of liveliness, and a 22.5% reduced risk of death. In fact, 83% of men who received Provenge were able to do routine activities without any restrictions.

Ronald London, age 78, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997. He is currently a stage IV cancer patient at The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center and became the first patient in South Florida to receive the Provenge treatment since its FDA approval on January 17, 2011. London has been through several doses of radiation and hormone therapy, but the cancer keeps coming back.

“It looked like my only option was aggressive chemotherapy, and I just couldn’t go through that,” said London.

In fact, side effects from chemotherapy, which is the only other treatment option for many of these patients, can be just as agonizing as the disease itself. In addition, Provenge has improved survival rates over chemotherapy.

“Mr. London is an ideal candidate for this type of treatment,” said Dr. Mike Cusnir, London’s oncologist at the Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center.  “It would be too high-risk for a gentleman of his age to undergo any further aggressive chemotherapy, let alone surgery.”

“I’d like to meet my great-grandchildren one day so, hopefully, I’m successful and I’ll be around so that I can help somebody else in my position be around, too,” said London.

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. It is important that men, beginning at age 40, get routine, yearly prostate cancer screenings.

For more information on The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Provenge treatment or to schedule an appointment for your annual prostate cancer screening, please call 305-674-CARE (305-674-2273) or visit

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