ALIMTA (pemetrexed) and Mesothelioma
Eli Lilly & Co.'s new drug ALIMTA, also called Pemetrexed, is available on an expanded access use for patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer associated with exposure to asbestos.
Eli Lilly reported that the results of a Phase III trial indicated that patients treated with Alimta and cisplatin combined lived longer, and experienced less pain and shortness of breath, than patients treated with cisplatin alone. In fact, according to Eli Lilly, mesothelioma tumors shrunk in 41% of patients given Alimta.
Medication Given Free of Charge
Under the expanded access program, Alimta will be provided free of charge to patients who meet medical eligibility requirements. For more information on the expanded access program, physicians may call 1-866-347-9503 (patients are asked to work through their physicians). Patients may call 1-800-362-1479 for more information.
Clinical Trial Locations and Information
Various hospitals across the country are recruiting patients to participate in Alimta clinical trials.
How Does Alimta Work?
Alimta is an antifolate. Doctors who studied the spread of cancer noted that folic acid seemed to increase the spread of cancer cells and tumor growth. Doctor theorized that drugs that would interfere with folic acid production in the body would reduce the spread of cancer and result in tumor shrinkage. Alimta is a drug that interferes with and inhibits the creation of folic acid which, in turn, stops the body from using folic acid to make more cancerous cells.
In medical terms, Alimta "targets the folic acid metabolic pathway, which effects availability of certain B complex vitamins." Simply stated, this means that Alimta prevents the body from making folic acid, which in turn significantly reduces the spread of mesothelioma cancer and the growth of tumors.
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