Bellicum's prostate-cancer vaccine: Dendritic cells served with a genetic twist

For a few brief months earlier this year, Dendreon’s Provenge looked like it might become the first cancer vaccine approved by the FDA, despite some iffy data supporting its effectiveness. The fate of Provenge now hangs in the balance following the FDA’s controversial decision to ask for additional data. But that hasn’t stopped Bellicum Pharmaceuticals from trying to improve on the work of its forbear.

No immunity for Dendreon's cancer vaccine

(UPDATED: See below.) For almost two months, it has seemed that the FDA might be ready to approve an entirely new attack on cancer — a “cancer vaccine” that immunizes patients with tumor fragments in order to activate the body’s immune defenses against cancerous cells.