Pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) is a chemotherapy drug. Its indications are the treatment of pleural mesothelioma as well as non-small cell lung cancer. more...
Mechanism of action
Pemetrexed is chemically similar to folic acid and is in the class of chemotherapy drugs called folate antimetabolites. It works by inhibiting three enzymes used in purine and pyrimidine synthesis—thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), and glycinamide ribonucleotide formyl transferase (GARFT). By inhibiting the formation of precursor purine and pyrimidine nucleotides, pemetrexed prevents the formation of DNA and RNA, which are required for the growth and survival of both normal cells and cancer cells.
The molecular structure of pemetrexed was developed by Edward C. Taylor at Princeton University and clinically developed by Indianapolis based drug maker, Eli Lilly and Company.
In February 2004, the Food and Drug Administration approved pemetrexed for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma, a type of tumor of the lining of the lung, in combination with cisplatin. In July 2004, the FDA granted approval as a second-line agent for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.
Patients are required to be on folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation when they are on pemetrexed therapy. (In clinical trials for mesothelioma, folic acid and B12 supplementation reduced the frequency of adverse events.)
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