Collecting Your Cells
To make each dose, your blood is drawn through a tube to a machine that collects a small portion of immune cells from the blood sample. This process is called leukapheresis (pronounced loo-kuh-fuh-REE-sis). Each dose of PROVENGE is made just for you, using your own cells.
Before your first leukapheresis procedure, you will need a basic blood test called a complete blood count (CBC) to measure your blood-cell levels.
3 Steps to the Leukapheresis Procedure
Your blood will flow from your vein into a machine where it is separated into different parts.
A small portion of your immune cells (along with some of the platelets and a small amount of red blood cells) are removed.
The rest of the cells and the blood are returned to your body.
What to Expect
Your urologist will refer to you to an area certified American Red Cross apharesis center where the leukapheresis procedure will be performed. The specially trained staff will explain the procedure to you in detail and answer any questions you may have.
Prior to your first appointment, a staff member at Chesapeake Urology's Infusion Therapy Center will evaluate your veins to ensure they are adequate to support the needles used for the leukapheresis procedures, which are larger than needles used for blood draws in your doctor’s office.
If the veins in your arms are not suitable for the apheresis procedure, the Infusion Therapy Center's medical director may recommend placement of a central venous catheter (CVC). A CVC requires a minor surgical procedure and an x-ray to ensure proper placement.
The leukapheresis procedure will take about three to four hours. Feel free to bring a book, a portable electronic device, listen to music or watch a movie during this time.
Read more about the apheresis process here.
Read the American Red Cross apharesis instructions here.
Before Your Leukapheresis Procedure
Some people may experience side effects when their cells are collected. These can include dizziness, fatigue, tingling in the fingers and around the mouth, feeling cold, fainting, and nausea. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions.
How is PROVENGE Given?
PROVENGE is infused three times, with infusions given approximately every two weeks. Each infusion of PROVENGE is about three days after your leukapheresis procedure. After three infusions, your treatment with PROVENGE is complete.
It is important to keep all your scheduled appointments and to arrive prepared. Your dose of PROVENGE, once manufactured, has a short life span. If an infusion appointment is missed, your personal dose of PROVENGE will expire and be out of date and can no longer be used. You will have to repeat the leukapheresis procedure in order for a new dose to be manufactured.
For additional information on scheduling and administration of PROVENGE, click here.