Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. have recently received approval from the FDA for using Alimta (a drug originally approved in 2004 for the treatment of mesothelioma) for maintenance therapy of advanced/metastatic non-smell cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
In a study of 600 patients, those with NSCLC survived an roughly six months longer with Alimta compared to those who received a placebo. A notable exception is the patient group that had the squamous cell subtype of NSCLCL. Unfortunately, Alimta had virtually no benefit on these patients.
Alimta works by disrupting metabolic processes involving folate, a vitamin essential to nucleotide production and consequently cellular reproduction.
Most of Alimta’s side effects can be attributed to damaged blood cells as folate is pivotal in producing healthy RBC’s.