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St. Luke`s Medical Center only Milwaukee hospital to test vaccine for advanced prostate cancer

Thursday, April 22, 2004

MILWAUKEE, Wis, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee is the only Milwaukee hospital conducting a clinical research trial of an experimental vaccine for prostate cancer. The vaccine, called Provenge®, is designed to trigger a patient’s own immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells. Currently, The Immunotherapy Program and its physicians, John Hanson, M.D. and Jonathan Treisman M.D., are enrolling men in the trial. To be considered for the trial, a patient must have cancer that has spread outside the prostate (metastatic), have cancer that has progressed while on hormone therapy, have a Gleason score of 7 or lower and have no cancer-related pain.

Provenge is being studied to determine if it helps men with advanced prostate cancer fight the disease by stimulating their body’s natural defenses. It is hoped that the experimental vaccine delays progression of prostate cancer and the time to the development of disease-related pain.

“This experimental vaccine is designed to use a patient’s own cells to fight against prostate cancer, ” says Dr. Hanson. “This trial is for men who have metastatic prostate cancer, but who have limited treatments available.”

For more information on the trial please call 1-866-4-PROSTATE (1-866-477-6782) or contact the St. Luke’s Immunotherapy Program at 414-649-5818 .

St. Luke’s Medical Center is a part of Aurora Health Care, a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

Prostate Cancer Facts and Figures

  • One in every six men will get prostate cancer sometime in his life.
  • The chances of getting prostate cancer are one in three if you have just one close relative (father, brother) with the disease. The risk is five-fold with two close relatives. With three, it’s an almost certainty (97%) that you will get prostate cancer.
  • African American men are at greater risk for the disease. They have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world. In fact, the incidence rate in African Americans is 60% higher than in white males and double the mortality rate.
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of male cancer death in the United States. An American man dies every 18 minutes from the disease.
  • An estimated 30,000 men in America will die from prostate cancer this year (500 of those men in Wisconsin).
  • More than 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year. (3850 of those cases will be diagnosed in Wisconsin.)
  • Every man over 50- younger if African American or with a family history of the disease should resolve to be screened annually for prostate cancer.

(Cancer incidence and death numbers are from the 2003/2004 American Cancer Society Cancer Facts and Figures)

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