79 research outputs found

    Short-course combination treatment for experimental chronic Chagas disease.

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    Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, affects millions of people in the Americas and across the world, leading to considerable morbidity and mortality. Current treatment options, benznidazole (BNZ) and nifurtimox, offer limited efficacy and often lead to adverse side effects because of long treatment durations. Better treatment options are therefore urgently required. Here, we describe a pyrrolopyrimidine series, identified through phenotypic screening, that offers an opportunity to improve on current treatments. In vitro cell-based washout assays demonstrate that compounds in the series are incapable of killing all parasites; however, combining these pyrrolopyrimidines with a subefficacious dose of BNZ can clear all parasites in vitro after 5 days. These findings were replicated in a clinically predictive in vivo model of chronic Chagas disease, where 5 days of treatment with the combination was sufficient to prevent parasite relapse. Comprehensive mechanism of action studies, supported by ligand-structure modeling, show that compounds from this pyrrolopyrimidine series inhibit the Qi active site of T. cruzi cytochrome b, part of the cytochrome bc1 complex of the electron transport chain. Knowledge of the molecular target enabled a cascade of assays to be assembled to evaluate selectivity over the human cytochrome b homolog. As a result, a highly selective and efficacious lead compound was identified. The combination of our lead compound with BNZ rapidly clears T. cruzi parasites, both in vitro and in vivo, and shows great potential to overcome key issues associated with currently available treatments

    Development of a 2,4-diaminothiazole series for the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis highlights the importance of static-cidal screening of analogues

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    While treatment options for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) have improved significantly, there is still a need for new drugs with eradication now a realistic possibility. Here, we report the development of 2,4-diaminothiazoles that demonstrate significant potency against Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of HAT. Using phenotypic screening to guide structure-activity relationships, potent drug-like inhibitors were developed. Proof of concept was established in an animal model of the hemolymphatic stage of HAT. To treat the meningoencephalitic stage of infection, compounds were optimized for pharmacokinetic properties, including blood-brain barrier penetration. However, in vivo efficacy was not achieved, in part due to compounds evolving from a cytocidal to a cytostatic mechanism of action. Subsequent studies identified a nonessential kinase involved in the inositol biosynthesis pathway as the molecular target of these cytostatic compounds. These studies highlight the need for cytocidal drugs for the treatment of HAT and the importance of static-cidal screening of analogues

    Development of a 2,4-Diaminothiazole Series for the Treatment of Human African Trypanosomiasis Highlights the Importance of Static–Cidal Screening of Analogues

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    While treatment options for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) have improved significantly, there is still a need for new drugs with eradication now a realistic possibility. Here, we report the development of 2,4-diaminothiazoles that demonstrate significant potency against Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of HAT. Using phenotypic screening to guide structure–activity relationships, potent drug-like inhibitors were developed. Proof of concept was established in an animal model of the hemolymphatic stage of HAT. To treat the meningoencephalitic stage of infection, compounds were optimized for pharmacokinetic properties, including blood–brain barrier penetration. However, in vivo efficacy was not achieved, in part due to compounds evolving from a cytocidal to a cytostatic mechanism of action. Subsequent studies identified a nonessential kinase involved in the inositol biosynthesis pathway as the molecular target of these cytostatic compounds. These studies highlight the need for cytocidal drugs for the treatment of HAT and the importance of static–cidal screening of analogues

    Structure Guided Design and Synthesis of a Pyridazinone Series of Trypanosoma cruzi Proteasome Inhibitors

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    There is an urgent need for new treatments for Chagas disease, a parasitic infection which mostly impacts South and Central America. We previously reported on the discovery of GSK3494245/DDD01305143, a preclinical candidate for visceral leishmaniasis which acted through inhibition of the Leishmania proteasome. A related analogue, active against Trypanosoma cruzi, showed suboptimal efficacy in an animal model of Chagas disease, so alternative proteasome inhibitors were investigated. Screening a library of phenotypically active analogues against the T. cruzi proteasome identified an active, selective pyridazinone, the development of which is described herein. We obtained a cryo-EM co-structure of proteasome and a key inhibitor and used this to drive optimization of the compounds. Alongside this, optimization of the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) properties afforded a suitable compound for mouse efficacy studies. The outcome of these studies is discussed, alongside future plans to further understand the series and its potential to deliver a new treatment for Chagas disease.</p

    Anti-trypanosomatid drug discovery:progress and challenges

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    Leishmaniasis (visceral and cutaneous), Chagas disease and human African trypanosomiasis cause substantial death and morbidity, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Although the situation has improved for human African trypanosomiasis, there remains an urgent need for new medicines to treat leishmaniasis and Chagas disease; the clinical development pipeline is particularly sparse for Chagas disease. In this Review, we describe recent advances in our understanding of the biology of the causative pathogens, particularly from the drug discovery perspective, and we explore the progress that has been made in the development of new drug candidates and the identification of promising molecular targets. We also explore the challenges in developing new clinical candidates and discuss potential solutions to overcome such hurdles

    Live-imaging rate-of-kill compound profiling for Chagas disease drug discovery with a new automated high-content assay

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    Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan intracellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is a highly neglected tropical disease, causing significant morbidity and mortality in central and south America. Current treatments are inadequate, and recent clinical trials of drugs inhibiting CYP51 have failed, exposing a lack of understanding of how to translate laboratory findings to the clinic. Following these failures many new model systems have been developed, both in vitro and in vivo, that provide improved understanding of the causes for clinical trial failures. Amongst these are in vitro rate-of-kill (RoK) assays that reveal how fast compounds kill intracellular parasites. Such assays have shown clear distinctions between the compounds that failed in clinical trials and the standard of care. However, the published RoK assays have some key drawbacks, including low time-resolution and inability to track the same cell population over time. Here, we present a new, live-imaging RoK assay for intracellular T. cruzi that overcomes these issues. We show that the assay is highly reproducible and report high time-resolution RoK data for key clinical compounds as well as new chemical entities. The data generated by this assay allow fast acting compounds to be prioritised for progression, the fate of individual parasites to be tracked, shifts of mode-of-action within series to be monitored, better PKPD modelling and selection of suitable partners for combination therapy
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