The Biotechnology Company Antigenics Inc, said on Tuesday that its treatment for kidney cancer was approved in Russia, making it the first cancer vaccine in the world to be in use.

Despite its rejection in the United States, the Russian Government approved the drug and Oncophage is expected to be launched in Russia in the second half of 2008, the company said.

Oncophage hasn't been approved in any other country however Antigenics is planning to file for approval of the vaccine in Europe by the end of this year.

The vaccine is designed to reprogram the immune system of a person to target cancer cells only, while more common treatments target both healthy and unhealthy cells.

The Russian pharmaceuticals market is one of the fastest growing in the world. According to the research group DSM, it will grow by nearly 60 percent to $19.4 billion in 2009.

Altigenics said Oncophage would need to generate $30 million in sales in order for the company as a whole to become profitable.

Shares were trading up 0.52 cents or 21.05 percent to $2.99 on Tuesday.

In 2004 there were about 16,329 new cases of kidney cancer in Russia and near 10,872 people died from the disease, according to the International Agency for Research Cancer.