The 4th of July arrived a day early for investors in Dendreon . The stock is up, yet again, on heavy volume this morning after I reported on a new review published in the journal of the American Association of Cancer Research about therapeutic cancer vaccines (see video below). Dendreon's Provenge is a therapeutic vaccine. That means it's given after you get the disease to try to power your own immune system to combat it. It shouldn't be confused with traditional preventive vaccines which are given to hopefully keep you from coming down with something.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute--part of the National Institutes of Health--looked at the results of five therapeutic prostate cancer vaccine clinical trials (including Provenge) and concluded that they appear to be extending patients' lives. Jeffrey Schlom, a Ph.D. who runs the NCI's Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, says "Clinical data are providing evidence that patients are living longer following vaccination, despite the fact that trials do not show the vaccines can induce the immune system into shrinking tumors. The data suggests that the scientific community and regulatory committees ought to rethink the design of clinical vaccine trials and our current approach to measuring the effectiveness of a cancer vaccine."