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Medicinal Research Reviews

Maris A Cinelli
Topoisomerases are DNA processing enzymes that relieve supercoiling (torsional strain) in DNA, are necessary for normal cellular division, and act by nicking (and then religating) DNA strands. Type 1B topoisomerase (Top1) is overexpressed in certain tumors, and the enzyme has been extensively investigated as a target for cancer chemotherapy. Various chemical agents can act as "poisons" of the enzyme's religation step, leading to Top1-DNA lesions, DNA breakage, and eventual cellular death. In this review, agents that poison Top1 (and have thus been investigated for their anticancer properties) are surveyed, including natural products (such as camptothecins and indolocarbazoles), semisynthetic camptothecin and luotonin derivatives, and synthetic compounds (such as benzonaphthyridines, aromathecins, and indenoisoquinolines), as well as targeted therapies and conjugates...
November 19, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Muhammad Ayaz Anwar, Masaud Shah, Jason Kim, Sangdun Choi
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are germline-encoded receptors that are central to innate and adaptive immune responses. Owing to their vital role in inflammation, TLRs are rational targets in clinics; thus, many ligands and biologics have been reported to overcome the progression of various inflammatory and malignant conditions and support the immune system. For each TLR, at least one, and often many, drug formulations are being evaluated. Ligands reported as stand-alone drugs may also be reported based on their use in combinatorial therapeutics as adjuvants...
November 18, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Vladimir Shalgunov, Aren van Waarde, Jan Booij, Martin C Michel, Rudi A J O Dierckx, Philip H Elsinga
The concept of the high-affinity state postulates that a certain subset of G-protein-coupled receptors is primarily responsible for receptor signaling in the living brain. Assessing the abundance of this subset is thus potentially highly relevant for studies concerning the responses of neurotransmission to pharmacological or physiological stimuli and the dysregulation of neurotransmission in neurological or psychiatric disorders. The high-affinity state is preferentially recognized by agonists in vitro. For this reason, agonist tracers have been developed as tools for the noninvasive imaging of the high-affinity state with positron emission tomography (PET)...
November 18, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Eugenie Nepovimova, Jana Janockova, Jan Misik, Stepan Kubik, Ales Stuchlik, Karel Vales, Jan Korabecny, Eva Mezeiova, Rafael Dolezal, Ondrej Soukup, Tereza Kobrlova, Ngoc Lam Pham, Thuy Duong Nguyen, Jan Konecny, Kamil Kuca
Narcolepsy is a rare, chronic neurological disease characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, vivid hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. Narcolepsy occurs in approximately 1 of 3000 people, affecting mainly adolescents aged 15 to 30 years. Recently, people with narcolepsy were shown to exhibit extensive orexin/hypocretin neuronal loss. The orexin system regulates sleep/wake control via complex interactions with monoaminergic, cholinergic and GABA-ergic neuronal systems. Currently, no cure for narcolepsy exists, but some symptoms can be controlled with medication (eg, stimulants, antidepressants, etc)...
November 14, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
David Martínez-García, Noemí Manero-Rupérez, Roberto Quesada, Luís Korrodi-Gregório, Vanessa Soto-Cerrato
Survivin is a small protein that belongs to the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family. It is abundantly expressed in tumors compared with adult differentiated tissues, being associated with poor prognosis in many human neoplasms. This apoptotic inhibitor has a relevant role in both the promotion of cancer cell survival and in the inhibition of cell death. Consequently, aberrant survivin expression stimulates tumor progression and confers resistance to several therapeutic strategies in a variety of tumors. In fact, efficient survivin downregulation or inhibition results in spontaneous apoptosis or sensitization to chemotherapy and radiotherapy...
November 12, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Ioannis D Kyrochristos, Demosthenes E Ziogas, Dimitrios H Roukos
Despite remarkable progress in medium-term overall survival benefit in the adjuvant, neoadjuvant and metastatic settings, with multiple recent targeted drug approvals, acquired resistance, late relapse, and cancer-related death rates remain challenging. Integrated technological systems have been developed to overcome these unmet needs. The characterization of structural and functional noncoding genome elements through next-generation sequencing (NGS) systems, Hi-C and CRISPR/Cas9, as well as computational models, allows for whole genome and transcriptome analysis...
November 11, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Leandro Battini, Mariela Bollini
The type I human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) pandemic affecting over 37 million people worldwide continues, with 1.8 million people newly infected each year. Highly active antiretroviral therapy is efficient at reducing viral load and nearly one-half of the infected population is on treatment. One of the most successful approaches for the treatment of HIV infections is the use of inhibitors for human immunodeficiency virus type-1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT). At present, there are six nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) approved for clinical use: nevirapine (NVP), delavirdine (DLV), efavirenz (EFV), etravirine (ETV), rilpivirine (RPV), and elsulfavirine...
November 11, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Alba Vicente-Blázquez, Myriam González, Raquel Álvarez, Sara Del Mazo, Manuel Medarde, Rafael Peláez
Tubulin, the microtubules and their dynamic behavior are amongst the most successful antitumor, antifungal, antiparasitic, and herbicidal drug targets. Sulfonamides are exemplary drugs with applications in the clinic, in veterinary and in the agrochemical industry. This review summarizes the actual state and recent progress of both fields looking from the double point of view of the target and its drugs, with special focus onto the structural aspects. The article starts with a brief description of tubulin structure and its dynamic assembly and disassembly into microtubules and other polymers...
October 25, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Jiajun Wang, Xiujing Dou, Jing Song, Yinfeng Lyu, Xin Zhu, Lin Xu, Weizhong Li, Anshan Shan
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), critical components of the innate immune system, are widely distributed throughout the animal and plant kingdoms. They can protect against a broad array of infection-causing agents, such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, and tumor cells, and also exhibit immunomodulatory activity. AMPs exert antimicrobial activities primarily through mechanisms involving membrane disruption, so they have a lower likelihood of inducing drug resistance. Extensive studies on the structure-activity relationship have revealed that net charge, hydrophobicity, and amphipathicity are the most important physicochemical and structural determinants endowing AMPs with antimicrobial potency and cell selectivity...
October 24, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Violeta Carmona-Martínez, Antonio J Ruiz-Alcaraz, María Vera, Antonio Guirado, María Martínez-Esparza, Pilar García-Peñarrubia
Pteridines are aromatic compounds formed by fused pyrazine and pyrimidine rings. Many living organisms synthesize pteridines, where they act as pigments, enzymatic cofactors, or immune system activation molecules. This variety of biological functions has motivated the synthesis of a huge number of pteridine derivatives with the aim of studying their therapeutic potential. This review gathers the state-of-the-art of pteridine derivatives, describing their biological activities and molecular targets. The antitumor activity of pteridine-based compounds is one of the most studied and advanced therapeutic potentials, for which several molecular targets have been identified...
October 19, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Milica Markovic, Shimon Ben-Shabat, Shahar Keinan, Aaron Aponick, Ellen M Zimmermann, Arik Dahan
In the past, a prodrug design was used as a last option to improve bioavailability through controlling transport, distribution, metabolism, or other mechanisms. Prodrugs are currently used even in early stages of drug development, and a significant percentage of all drugs in the market are prodrugs. The focus of this article is lipidic prodrugs, a strategy whereby a lipid carrier is covalently bound to the drug moiety. The increased lipophilicity of the lipid-drug conjugate can improve the pharmacokinetic profile and provide meaningful advantages: increased absorption across biological barriers, prolonged circulation half-life, selective distribution profile (eg brain penetration), reduced hepatic first-pass metabolism, and overall enhanced bioavailability of the parent drug...
October 15, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Kornelia J Skowron, Thomas E Speltz, Terry W Moore
Given the ubiquity of the ⍺-helix in the proteome, there has been much research in developing mimics of ⍺-helices, and most of this study has been toward developing protein-protein interaction inhibitors. A common strategy for mimicking ⍺-helices has been through the use of constrained, helical peptides. The addition of a constraint typically provides for conformational and proteolytic stability and, in some cases, cell permeability. Some of the most well-known strategies included are lactam formation and hydrocarbon "stapling...
October 11, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Hendrik Folkerts, Susan Hilgendorf, Edo Vellenga, Edwin Bremer, Valerie R Wiersma
Autophagy is a crucial recycling process that is increasingly being recognized as an important factor in cancer initiation, cancer (stem) cell maintenance as well as the development of resistance to cancer therapy in both solid and hematological malignancies. Furthermore, it is being recognized that autophagy also plays a crucial and sometimes opposing role in the complex cancer microenvironment. For instance, autophagy in stromal cells such as fibroblasts contributes to tumorigenesis by generating and supplying nutrients to cancerous cells...
October 9, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Mohammed S Abdel-Maksoud, Mohammed I El-Gamal, Dalia Reyane Benhalilou, Sandy Ashraf, Shatha Abdulghaffar Mohammed, Chang-Hyun Oh
The mechanistic/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), also known as the mechanistic target of rapamycin, regulates many normal cell processes such as transcription, cell growth, and autophagy. Overstimulation of mTOR by its ligands, amino acids, sugars, and/or growth factors leads to physiological disorders, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we reviewed the recent advances regarding the mechanism that involves mTOR in cancer, aging, and neurodegenerative diseases. The chemical and biological properties of recently reported small molecules that function as mTOR kinase inhibitors, including adenosine triphosphate-competitive inhibitors and dual mTOR/PI3K inhibitors, have also been reviewed...
September 24, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Jeffrey Yang, Longqin Hu
Cancer immunotherapy has made great strides in the recent decade, especially in the area of immune checkpoint blockade. The outstanding efficacy, prolonged durability of effect, and rapid assimilation of anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies in clinical practice have been nothing short of a medical breakthrough in the treatment of numerous malignancies. The major advantages of these therapeutic antibodies over their small molecule counterparts have been their high binding affinity and target specificity...
September 14, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Bikash R Giri, Ram I Mahato, Guofeng Cheng
T cell immunity plays a vital role in pathogen infections. MicroRNA (miRNAs) are small, single-stranded noncoding RNAs that regulate T cell immunity by targeting key transcriptional factors, signaling proteins, and cytokines associated with T cell activation, differentiation, and function. The dysregulation of miRNA expression in T cells may lead to specific immune responses and can provide new therapeutic opportunities against various infectious diseases. Here, we summarize recent studies that focus on the roles of miRNAs in T cell immunity and highlight miRNA functions in prevalent infectious diseases...
September 11, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Yacoubou Abdoul Razak Mahaman, Fang Huang, Henok Kessete Afewerky, Tanko Mahamane Salissou Maibouge, Bishwajit Ghose, Xiaochuan Wang
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common (60% to 80%) age-related disease associated with dementia and is characterized by a deterioration of behavioral and cognitive capacities leading to death in few years after diagnosis, mainly due to complications from chronic illness. The characteristic hallmarks of the disease are extracellular senile plaques (SPs) and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) with neuropil threads, which are a direct result of amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing to Aβ, and τ hyperphosphorylation...
September 10, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Bharath Srinivasan, Sam Tonddast-Navaei, Ambrish Roy, Hongyi Zhou, Jeffrey Skolnick
Escherichia coli Dihydrofolate reductase is an important enzyme that is essential for the survival of the Gram-negative microorganism. Inhibitors designed against this enzyme have demonstrated application as antibiotics. However, either because of poor bioavailability of the small-molecules resulting from their inability to cross the double membrane in Gram-negative bacteria or because the microorganism develops resistance to the antibiotics by mutating the DHFR target, discovery of new antibiotics against the enzyme is mandatory to overcome drug-resistance...
September 7, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Alexander J Nielsen, James McNulty
The discovery of biologically active polyphenolic natural products, including chalcones, stilbenes, flavanones, and isoflavones as steroidal mimics has proven to be a subject of considerable importance in medicine. Some of these natural compounds have been shown to modulate key human metabolic processes via steroidal hormone receptors, or to inhibit crucial enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of steroidal hormones themselves. Isoflavone polyphenolics such as genistein are well known for this "phytoestrogenic" biological activity...
September 1, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
Wenyi Wu, Yanhui Yang, Hetian Lei
The system of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated endonucleases (Cas) has been utilized for genome editing with great accuracy and high efficiency in generating gene knockout, knockin, and point mutations in eukaryotic genomes. However, traditional CRISPR/Cas9 technology introduces double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs) at a target locus as the first step to make gene corrections, which easily results in undesired mutations. Thus, it is necessary to develop new methods for correcting the unwanted mutations...
September 1, 2018: Medicinal Research Reviews
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