New chemical modalities for leishmaniasis drug discovery

Salerno, Alessandra (2023) New chemical modalities for leishmaniasis drug discovery, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze biotecnologiche, biocomputazionali, farmaceutiche e farmacologiche, 35 Ciclo.
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Leishmaniasis is one of the major parasitic diseases among neglected tropical diseases with a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Human migration and climate change have spread the disease from limited endemic areas all over the world, also reaching regions in Southern Europe, and causing significant health and economic burden. The currently available treatments are far from ideal due to host toxicity, elevated cost, and increasing rates of drug resistance. Safer and more effective drugs are thus urgently required. Nevertheless, the identification of new chemical entities for leishmaniasis has proven to be incredibly hard and exacerbated by the scarcity of well-validated targets. Trypanothione reductase (TR) represents one robustly validated target in Leishmania that fulfils most of the requirements for a good drug target. However, due to the large and featureless active site, TR is considered extremely challenging and almost undruggable by small molecules. This scenario advocates the development of new chemical entities by unlocking new modalities for leishmaniasis drug discovery. The classical toolbox for drug discovery has enormously expanded in the last decade, and medicinal chemists can now strategize across a variety of new chemical modalities and a vast chemical space, to efficiently modulate challenging targets and provide effective treatments. Beyond others, Targeted p Protein Degradation (TPD) is an emerging strategy that uses small molecules to hijack endogenous proteolysis systems to degrade disease-relevant proteins and thus reduce their abundance in the cell. Based on these considerations, this thesis aimed to develop new strategies for leishmaniasis drug discovery while embracing novel chemical modalities and navigating the chemical space by chasing unprecedented chemotypes. This has been achieved by four complementary projects. We believe that these next-generation chemical modalities for leishmaniasis will play an important role in what was previously thought to be a drug discovery landscape dominated by small molecules.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Salerno, Alessandra
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
PROTACs, neglected tropical diseases, leishmaniasis, medicinal chemistry, Targeted Protein Degradation, chemotypes
Data di discussione
16 Giugno 2023

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