Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 14

Drug discovery Related Abstracts

14 Pharmaceutical Science and Development in Drug Research

Authors: Adegoke Yinka Adebayo


An understanding of the critical product attributes that impact on in vivo performance is key to the production of safe and effective medicines. Thus, a key driver for our research is the development of new basic science and technology underpinning the development of new pharmaceutical products. Research includes the structure and properties of drugs and excipients, biopharmaceutical characterisation, pharmaceutical processing and technology and formulation and analysis.

Keywords: drug delivery, Drug discovery, Drug Development

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13 Small Molecule Inhibitors of PD1-PDL1 Interaction

Authors: K. Żak, S. Przetocka, R. Kitel, K. Guzik, B. Musielak, S. Malicki, G. Dubin, T. A. Holak


Studies on tumor genesis revealed a number of factors that may potentially serve as molecular targets for immunotherapies. One of such promising targets are PD1 and PDL1 proteins. PD1 (Programmed cell death protein 1) is expressed by activated T cells and plays a critical role in modulation of the host's immune response. One of the PD1 ligands -PDL1- is expressed by macrophages, monocytes and cancer cells which exploit it to avoid immune attack. The notion of the mechanisms used by cancer cells to block the immune system response was utilized in the development of therapies blocking PD1-PDL1 interaction. Up to date, human PD1-PDL1 complex has not been crystallized and structure of the mouse-human complex does not provide a complete view of the molecular basis of PD1-PDL1 interactions. The purpose of this study is to obtain crystal structure of the human PD1-PDL1 complex which shall allow rational design of small molecule inhibitors of the interaction. In addition, the study presents results of binding small-molecules to PD1 and fragment docking towards PD1 protein which will facilitate the design and development of small–molecule inhibitors of PD1-PDL1 interaction.

Keywords: Cancer, Drug discovery, PD1, PDL1, small molecule

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12 Indigenous Patch Clamp Technique: Design of Highly Sensitive Amplifier Circuit for Measuring and Monitoring of Real Time Ultra Low Ionic Current through Cellular Gates

Authors: Asma Bashir, Bushra Noman, Moez ul Hassan, Sarmad Hameed, Shahab Mehmood


The importance of Noble prize winning “Patch Clamp Technique” is well documented. However, Patch Clamp Technique is very expensive and hence hinders research in developing countries. In this paper, detection, processing and recording of ultra low current from induced cells by using transimpedence amplifier is described. The sensitivity of the proposed amplifier is in the range of femto amperes (fA). Capacitive-feedback is used with active load to obtain a 20MΩ transimpedance gain. The challenging task in designing includes achieving adequate performance in gain, noise immunity and stability. The circuit designed by the authors was able to measure current in the rangeof 300fA to 100pA. Adequate performance shown by the amplifier with different input current and outcome result was found to be within the acceptable error range. Results were recorded using LabVIEW 8.5®for further research.

Keywords: Drug discovery, ionic current, operational amplifier, patch clamp

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11 Discovery of New Inhibitors for Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Authors: Kai-Cheng Hsu, Tzu-Ying Sung, Jinn-Moon Yang


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the main causes of cancer death in the world. Although several drugs have been developed to treat colorectal cancer, such as Regorafenib and 5-FU, their efficacy is often limited by the development of drug resistance. Therefore, development of new drugs with new scaffolds is necessary to treat CRC. Here, we used site-moiety maps to identify inhibitors against PIM1, LIMK1, SRC, and mTOR, which are often overexpressed in CRC. A site-moiety map represents physicochemical properties and moiety preferences of a binding site through anchors. An anchor contains three elements: (1) conserved interacting residues of a binding pocket; (2) moiety preference of the binding pocket; and (3) the type (e.g., hydrogen-bonding or van der Waals interactions) of interaction between the moieties and the binding pocket. Then, we performed a structure-based virtual screening of ~260,000 compounds and selected compound candidates with high site-moiety map scores for bioassays. Among these candidates, compound 1 and compound 2 inhibited the growth of CRC cells with IC50 values of <10 μM. The experimental result of enzyme-based assays indicated that compound 1 is a dual inhibitor against PIM1 (IC50 6 μM) and LIMK1(IC50 11 μM). Compound 2 was predicted as a SRC inhibitor and will be further validated. The compounds inhibited different protein targets compared to the current drugs. We believe that the compounds provide a starting point to design new drugs for CRC treatment.

Keywords: Drug discovery, colorectal cancer, virtual screening, site-moiety map, PIM1, LIMK1

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10 Characterization of the Catalytic and Structural Roles of the Human Hexokinase 2 in Cancer Progression

Authors: Wael M. Rabeh, Mir Hussain Nawaz, Lyudmila Nedyalkova, Haizhong Zhu


In this study, we aim to biochemically and structurally characterize the interactions of human HK2 with the mitochondria in addition to the role of its N-terminal domain in catalysis and stability of the full-length enzyme. Here, we solved the crystal structure of human HK2 in complex with glucose and glucose-6-phosphate (PDB code: 2NZT), where it is a homodimer with catalytically active N- and C-terminal domains linked by a seven-turn α-helix. Different from the inactive N-terminal domains of isozymes 1 and 3, the N- domain of HK2 not only capable to catalyze a reaction but it is responsible for the thermodynamic stabilizes of the full-length enzyme. Deletion of first α-helix of the N-domain that binds to the mitochondria altered the stability and catalytic activity of the full-length HK2. In addition, we found the linker helix between the N- and C-terminal domains to play an important role in controlling the catalytic activity of the N-terminal domain. HK2 is a major step in the regulation of glucose metabolism in cancer making it an ideal target for the development of new anticancer therapeutics. Characterizing the structural and molecular mechanisms of human HK2 and its role in cancer metabolism will accelerate the design and development of new cancer therapeutics that are safe and cancer specific.

Keywords: Drug discovery, enzymology, cancer metabolism, Protein Stability

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9 Artificial Intelligence in Bioscience: The Next Frontier

Authors: Parthiban Srinivasan


With recent advances in computational power and access to enough data in biosciences, artificial intelligence methods are increasingly being used in drug discovery research. These methods are essentially a series of advanced statistics based exercises that review the past to indicate the likely future. Our goal is to develop a model that accurately predicts biological activity and toxicity parameters for novel compounds. We have compiled a robust library of over 150,000 chemical compounds with different pharmacological properties from literature and public domain databases. The compounds are stored in simplified molecular-input line-entry system (SMILES), a commonly used text encoding for organic molecules. We utilize an automated process to generate an array of numerical descriptors (features) for each molecule. Redundant and irrelevant descriptors are eliminated iteratively. Our prediction engine is based on a portfolio of machine learning algorithms. We found Random Forest algorithm to be a better choice for this analysis. We captured non-linear relationship in the data and formed a prediction model with reasonable accuracy by averaging across a large number of randomized decision trees. Our next step is to apply deep neural network (DNN) algorithm to predict the biological activity and toxicity properties. We expect the DNN algorithm to give better results and improve the accuracy of the prediction. This presentation will review all these prominent machine learning and deep learning methods, our implementation protocols and discuss these techniques for their usefulness in biomedical and health informatics.

Keywords: Machine Learning, Health Informatics, Drug discovery, Deep learning, toxicity prediction

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8 Prospects of Acellular Organ Scaffolds for Drug Discovery

Authors: Inna Kornienko, Svetlana Guryeva, Elena Petersen, Natalia Danilova


Drug toxicity often goes undetected until clinical trials, the most expensive and dangerous phase of drug development. Both human cell culture and animal studies have limitations that cannot be overcome by improvements in drug testing protocols. Tissue engineering is an emerging alternative approach to creating models of human malignant tumors for experimental oncology, personalized medicine, and drug discovery studies. This new generation of bioengineered tumors provides an opportunity to control and explore the role of every component of the model system including cell populations, supportive scaffolds, and signaling molecules. An area that could greatly benefit from these models is cancer research. Recent advances in tissue engineering demonstrated that decellularized tissue is an excellent scaffold for tissue engineering. Decellularization of donor organs such as heart, liver, and lung can provide an acellular, naturally occurring three-dimensional biologic scaffold material that can then be seeded with selected cell populations. Preliminary studies in animal models have provided encouraging results for the proof of concept. Decellularized Organs preserve organ microenvironment, which is critical for cancer metastasis. Utilizing 3D tumor models results greater proximity of cell culture morphological characteristics in a model to its in vivo counterpart, allows more accurate simulation of the processes within a functioning tumor and its pathogenesis. 3D models allow study of migration processes and cell proliferation with higher reliability as well. Moreover, cancer cells in a 3D model bear closer resemblance to living conditions in terms of gene expression, cell surface receptor expression, and signaling. 2D cell monolayers do not provide the geometrical and mechanical cues of tissues in vivo and are, therefore, not suitable to accurately predict the responses of living organisms. 3D models can provide several levels of complexity from simple monocultures of cancer cell lines in liquid environment comprised of oxygen and nutrient gradients and cell-cell interaction to more advanced models, which include co-culturing with other cell types, such as endothelial and immune cells. Following this reasoning, spheroids cultivated from one or multiple patient-derived cell lines can be utilized to seed the matrix rather than monolayer cells. This approach furthers the progress towards personalized medicine. As an initial step to create a new ex vivo tissue engineered model of a cancer tumor, optimized protocols have been designed to obtain organ-specific acellular matrices and evaluate their potential as tissue engineered scaffolds for cultures of normal and tumor cells. Decellularized biomatrix was prepared from animals’ kidneys, urethra, lungs, heart, and liver by two decellularization methods: perfusion in a bioreactor system and immersion-agitation on an orbital shaker with the use of various detergents (SDS, Triton X-100) in different concentrations and freezing. Acellular scaffolds and tissue engineered constructs have been characterized and compared using morphological methods. Models using decellularized matrix have certain advantages, such as maintaining native extracellular matrix properties and biomimetic microenvironment for cancer cells; compatibility with multiple cell types for cell culture and drug screening; utilization to culture patient-derived cells in vitro to evaluate different anticancer therapeutics for developing personalized medicines.

Keywords: Tissue Engineering, Drug discovery, Scaffolds, Drug toxicity, decellularization, spheroids

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7 Epigenetic Drugs for Major Depressive Disorder: A Critical Appraisal of Available Studies

Authors: Aniket Kumar, Jacob Peedicayil


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and important psychiatric disorder. Several clinical features of MDD suggest an epigenetic basis for its pathogenesis. Since epigenetics (heritable changes in gene expression not involving changes in DNA sequence) may underlie the pathogenesis of MDD, epigenetic drugs such as DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi) and histone deactylase inhibitors (HDACi) may be useful for treating MDD. The available literature indexed in Pubmed on preclinical drug trials of epigenetic drugs for the treatment of MDD was investigated. The search terms we used were ‘depression’ or ‘depressive’ and ‘HDACi’ or ‘DNMTi’. Among epigenetic drugs, it was found that there were 3 preclinical trials using HDACi and 3 using DNMTi for the treatment of MDD. All the trials were conducted on rodents (mice or rats). The animal models of depression that were used were: learned helplessness-induced animal model, forced swim test, open field test, and the tail suspension test. One study used a genetic rat model of depression (the Flinders Sensitive Line). The HDACi that were tested were: sodium butyrate, compound 60 (Cpd-60), and valproic acid. The DNMTi that were tested were: 5-azacytidine and decitabine. Among the three preclinical trials using HDACi, all showed an antidepressant effect in animal models of depression. Among the 3 preclinical trials using DNMTi also, all showed an antidepressant effect in animal models of depression. Thus, epigenetic drugs, namely, HDACi and DNMTi, may prove to be useful in the treatment of MDD and merit further investigation for the treatment of this disorder.

Keywords: Drug discovery, Epigenetics, Major Depressive Disorder, DNA Methylation

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6 Establishing a Drug Discovery Platform to Progress Compounds into the Clinic

Authors: Sheraz Gul


The requirements for progressing a compound to clinical trials is well established and relies on the results from in-vitro and in-vivo animal tests to indicate that it is likely to be safe and efficacious when testing in humans. The typical data package required will include demonstrating compound safety, toxicity, bioavailability, pharmacodynamics (potential effects of the compound on body systems) and pharmacokinetics (how the compound is potentially absorbed, distributed, metabolised and eliminated after dosing in humans). If the desired criteria are met and the compound meets the clinical Candidate criteria and is deemed worthy of further development, a submission to regulatory bodies such as the US Food & Drug Administration for an exploratory Investigational New Drug Study can be made. The purpose of this study is to collect data to establish that the compound will not expose humans to unreasonable risks when used in limited, early-stage clinical studies in patients or normal volunteer subjects (Phase I). These studies are also designed to determine the metabolism and pharmacologic actions of the drug in humans, the side effects associated with increasing doses, and, if possible, to gain early evidence on their effectiveness. In order to reach the above goals, we have developed a pre-clinical high throughput Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion–Toxicity (ADME–Toxicity) panel of assays to identify compounds that are likely to meet the Lead and Candidate compound acceptance criteria. This panel includes solubility studies in a range of biological fluids, cell viability studies in cancer and primary cell-lines, mitochondrial toxicity, off-target effects (across the kinase, protease, histone deacetylase, phosphodiesterase and GPCR protein families), CYP450 inhibition (5 different CYP450 enzymes), CYP450 induction, cardio-toxicity (hERG) and gene-toxicity. This panel of assays has been applied to multiple compound series developed in a number of projects delivering Lead and clinical Candidates and examples from these will be presented.

Keywords: Drug discovery, Distribution, Pharmacodynamics, Absorption, metabolism and excretion–toxicity, food and drug administration

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5 Copper Related Toxicity of 1-Hydroxy-2-Thiopyridines

Authors: Elena G. Salina, Vadim A. Makarov


With the emergence of primary resistance to the current drugs and wide distribution of latent tuberculosis infection, a need for new compounds with a novel mode of action is growing steadily. Copper-mediated innate immunity and antibacterial toxicity propose novel strategies in TB drug discovery and development. Transcriptome of M. tuberculosis was obtained by RNA-seq, intracellular copper content was measured by ISP MS and complexes of 1-hydroxy-2-thiopyridines with copper were detected by HPLC.1-hydroxy-2-thiopyridine derivatives were found to be highly active in vitro against both actively growing and dormant non-culturable M. tuberculosis. Transcriptome response to 1-hydroxy-2-thiopyridines revealed signs of copper toxicity in M. tuberculosis bacilli. Indeed, Cu was found to accumulate inside cells treated with 1-hydroxy-2-thiopyridines. These compounds were found to form stable charged lipophylic complexes with Cu²⁺ ions which transport into mycobacterial cell. Subsequent metabolic destruction of the complex led to transformation of 1-hydroxy-2-thiopyridines into 2-methylmercapto-2-ethoxycarbonylpyridines, which did not possess antitubercular activity and releasing of free Cu²⁺ in the cytoplasm. 1-hydroxy-2-thiopyridines are a potent class of Cu-dependent inhibitors of M. tuberculosis which may control M. tuberculosis infection by impairment of copper homeostasis. Acknowledgment: This work was financially supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the RussianFederation (Agreement No 14.616.21.0065; unique identifier RFMEFI61616X0065).

Keywords: Drug discovery, copper toxicity, M. tuberculosis inhibitors

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4 Production of Nitric Oxide by Thienopyrimidine TP053

Authors: Elena G. Salina, Vadim A. Makarov, Laurent R. Chiarelli, Maria R. Pasca


Tuberculosis is one of the most challenging threats to human health, confronted by the problem of drug resistance. Evidently, new drugs for tuberculosis are urgently needed. Thienopyrimidine TP053 is one of the most promising new antitubercular prodrugs. Mycothiol-dependent reductase Mrx2, encoded by rv2466c, is known to be a TP053 activator; however, the precise mode of action of this compound remained unclear. Being highly active against both replicating and non-replicating tuberculosis bacilli, TP053 also revealed dose-escalating activity for M. tuberculosis-infected murine macrophages. The chemical structure of TP053 is characterized by the presence of NO₂ group which was suggested to be responsible for the toxic effects of the activated compound. Reduction of a nitroaromatic moiety of TP53 by Mrx2 was hypothesized to result in NO release. Analysis of the products of enzymatic activation of TP053 by Mrx2 by the Greiss reagent clearly demonstrated production of nitric oxide in a time-dependent manner. Mass-spectra of cell lysates of TP-treated M. tuberculosis bacilli demonstrated the transformation of TP053 to its non-active metabolite with Mw=261 that corresponds NO release. The mechanism of NO toxicity for bacteria includes DNA damage and degradation of iron-sulfur centers, especially under oxygen depletion. Thus, TP-053 drug-like scaffold is prospective for further development of novel anti-TB drug. This work was financially supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Grant 17-04-00342).

Keywords: Drug discovery, Nitric Oxide, M. tuberculosis, NO donors

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3 Screening for Hit Identification against Mycobacterium abscessus

Authors: Jichan Jang


Mycobacterium abscessus is a rapidly growing life-threatening mycobacterium with multiple drug-resistance mechanisms. In this study, we screened the library to identify active molecules targeting Mycobacterium abscessus using resazurin live/dead assays. In this screening assay, the Z-factor was 0.7, as an indication of the statistical confidence of the assay. A cut-off of 80% growth inhibition in the screening resulted in the identification of four different compounds at a single concentration (20 μM). Dose-response curves identified three different hit candidates, which generated good inhibitory curves. All hit candidates were expected to have different molecular targets. Thus, we found that compound X, identified, may be a promising candidate in the M. abscessus drug discovery pipeline.

Keywords: Drug discovery, Antibiotics, Mycobacterium abscessus, emerging Pathogen

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2 Anti-Parasite Targeting with Amino Acid-Capped Nanoparticles Modulates Multiple Cellular Processes in Host

Authors: Oluyomi Stephen Adeyemi, Kentaro Kato


Toxoplasma gondii is the etiological agent of toxoplasmosis, a common parasitic disease capable of infecting a range of hosts, including nearly one-third of the human population. Current treatment options for toxoplasmosis patients are limited. In consequence, toxoplasmosis represents a large global burden that is further enhanced by the shortcomings of the current therapeutic options. These factors underscore the need for better anti-T. gondii agents and/or new treatment approach. In the present study, we sought to find out whether preparing and capping nanoparticles (NPs) in amino acids, would enhance specificity toward the parasite versus the host cell. The selection of amino acids was premised on the fact that T. gondii is auxotrophic for some amino acids. The amino acid-nanoparticles (amino-NPs) were synthesized, purified and characterized following established protocols. Next, we tested to determine the anti-T. gondii activity of the amino-NPs using in vitro experimental model of infection. Overall, our data show evidence that supports enhanced and excellent selective action against the parasite versus the host cells by amino-NPs. The findings are promising and provide additional support that warrants exploring the prospects of NPs as alternative anti-parasite agents. In addition, the anti-parasite action by amino-NPs indicates that nutritional requirement of parasite may represent a viable target in the development of better alternative anti-parasite agents. Furthermore, data suggest the anti-parasite mechanism of the amino-NPs involves multiple cellular processes including the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), modulation of hypoxia-inducing factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) as well as the activation of kynurenine pathway. Taken together, findings highlight further, the prospects of NPs as alternative source of anti-parasite agents.

Keywords: Nanomedicine, Infectious Diseases, Drug discovery, Mode of Action

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1 A Photoredox (C)sp³-(C)sp² Coupling Method Comparison Study

Authors: Ying Wang, Shasline Gedeon, Tiffany W. Ardley, Nathan J. Gesmundo, Katarina A. Sarris, Ana L. Aguirre


Drug discovery and delivery involve drug targeting, an approach that helps find a drug against a chosen target through high throughput screening and other methods by way of identifying the physical properties of the potential lead compound. Physical properties of potential drug candidates have been an imperative focus since the unveiling of Lipinski's Rule of 5 for oral drugs. Throughout a compound's journey from discovery, clinical phase trials, then becoming a classified drug on the market, the desirable properties are optimized while minimizing/eliminating toxicity and undesirable properties. In the pharmaceutical industry, the ability to generate molecules in parallel with maximum efficiency is a substantial factor achieved through sp²-sp² carbon coupling reactions, e.g., Suzuki Coupling reactions. These reaction types allow for the increase of aromatic fragments onto a compound. More recent literature has found benefits to decreasing aromaticity, calling for more sp³-sp² carbon coupling reactions instead. The objective of this project is to provide a comparison between various sp³-sp² carbon coupling methods and reaction conditions, collecting data on production of the desired product. There were four different coupling methods being tested amongst three cores and 4-5 installation groups per method; each method ran under three distinct reaction conditions. The tested methods include the Photoredox Decarboxylative Coupling, the Photoredox Potassium Alkyl Trifluoroborate (BF3K) Coupling, the Photoredox Cross-Electrophile (PCE) Coupling, and the Weix Cross-Electrophile (WCE) Coupling. The results concluded that the Decarboxylative method was very difficult in yielding product despite the several literature conditions chosen. The BF3K and PCE methods produced competitive results. Amongst the two Cross-Electrophile coupling methods, the Photoredox method surpassed the Weix method on numerous accounts. The results will be used to build future libraries.

Keywords: Drug discovery, high throughput chemistry, photoredox chemistry, sp³-sp² carbon coupling methods

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