Bleomycin is an anti-cancer agent. It is a glycosylated linear nonribosomal peptide antibiotic produced by the bacterium Streptomyces verticillus. The drug is used in the treatment of lymphomas (especially Hodgkin's disease), squamous cell carcinomas, and testicular cancer as well as pleurodesis. more...
Bleomycin was first discovered in 1962 when the Japanese scientist Hamao Umezawa found anti-cancer activity while screening culture filtrates of S. verticullus. Umezawa published his discovery in 1966. The drug was launched in Japan by Nippon Kayaku in 1969. In the US bleomycin gained FDA approval in July 1973. It was initially marketed in the US by the Bristol-Myers Squibb precursor Bristol Laboratories under the brand name Blenoxane.
Bristol-Myers Squibb still supplies Blenoxane. There are also generic versions of bleomycin available from Bedford, Sicor and Mayne Pharma.
Mechanism of action
Bleomycine acts by induction of DNA strand breaks. Some studies suggest that bleomycin also inhibits incorporation of thymidine into DNA strands. Bleomycin is a metal-chelating molecule that is also thought to produce superoxide and hydroxide free radicals, through action as a pseudoenzyme, which also damage the DNA.
The most serious complication of bleomycin is pulmonary fibrosis and impaired lung function. Other side-effects include fever, rash, hyperpigmentation, alopecia, and Raynaud's phenomenon.
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