Brand Name: Keytruda
Generic Name: pembrolizumab for injection
Medication Class: humanized monoclonal antibody blocking the programmed human death receptor 1 (PD-1)
Similar Drugs: Keytruda is the first PD-1 antibody approved in the United States
Manufacturer: Merck and Company
FDA Approval date: September 4, 2014
What is Keytruda and its mechanism of action?
Keytruda is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the programmed human death receptor-1 (PD-1). Monoclonal antibodies are currently approved and used for the treatment of many diseases including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, and organ transplant patients. Antibodies are effective in the treatment of these diseases because they attach to and destroy or neutralize specific pathogens or proteins involved in inflammatory processes.
Keytruda is a human (humanized) antibody that works on a specific pathway of the immune response thought to be involved in the development and spread of melanoma. Scientists believe that in melanoma cells that molecules called PD-1 and PD-2 bind to a receptor, the PD-1 receptor found on immune cells called T-cells. When the PD-1 and PD-2 molecules bind to the PD-1 receptor they prevent the immune system from making chemicals that fight off the melanoma tumor, allowing it to grow and spread to other areas of the body. Keytruda selectively binds to the PD-1 receptor and blocks PD-1 and PD-2 molecules from binding to the receptor. By blocking PD-1 and PD-2, Keytruda allows the tumor-fighting chemicals and cells of the immune system to attack the melanoma tumor.
What is Keytruda approved for treating?
Keytruda is indicated for patients with advanced stage melanoma, a type of skin cancer accounting for 5 percent of all new cancers in the United States. Patients that can use Keytruda should have melanoma which:
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