Anthony King in Nature:
The first therapeutic cancer vaccine, approved more than a decade ago, targeted prostate tumours. The treatment involves extracting antigen-presenting cells — a component of the immune system that tells other cells what to target — from a person’s blood, loading them with a marker found on prostate tumours, and then returning them to the patient. The idea is that other immune cells will then take note and attack the cancer.
The 2010 decision by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve this vaccine — called sipuleucel-T — raised hopes for a surge of cancer treatments that use the body’s natural capabilities to destroy the enemy within. Immunotherapies have at least partially delivered on that promise in many types of cancer. But not in the prostate.