Provenge Immunotherapy cycles – 2 done, 1 to go!

My PSA continued to rise, albeit somewhat more slowly, through this summer of 2010 when the Provenge cycles were in progress. That was welcome news! I’m now more than a bit skeptical of the cancer-fighting value of the curcumin (blue), nitroglycerin (green) and Sandostatin (red) in my system. But, I understand that drug synergies can occur when not expected.
The second cycle of Provenge therapy began last Tuesday, July 13th, with blood cell collection (leukapheresis) at the Red Cross Center (see photo at left below), After processing on Wednesday and Thursday, the activated cells were ”re-infused” at the clinic (photo at right) this past Friday. (From our experience with cycle 1 in late June, we thought to bring the camera for the second go-round.)
Blood cell separation and collection takes place in the machine with all the bags hanging above it. At the far right is the bag collecting dendritic cells. The “product” is a rose color before it is mixed with the plasma, which is collected in next bag to the left. In the photo at the right below, Lori is holding the drip line during infusion of the “product” that has been processed at the laboratory in New Jersey. You can see it is a pale pink. Everything seems to be going OK so far. We have carefully watched for signs of the possible short-term reactions (flu-like, aching joints, headache, etc.)that other patients have experienced following the “re-infusion” of one’s own blood cells.
We learned last week that I had pumped all 11 pints of my blood through the machine twice during the 2½ hours we spent doing leukapheresis last Tuesday. No wonder I was pooped afterwards.
In the meantime, I’m sleeping better and feeling energetic enough to get up at 6 am and go stepping out with Heidi (and her new pedometer) before another day of 90+ temperatures here.

Leukaphresis – the body’s blood volume (about 11 pints) is pumped through this machine twice in the process of collecting dendritic cells for activation.

The re-infusion of the activated dendritic cells takes about 45 minutes.