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Open AccessReview

Rational Drug Design of Peptide-Based Therapies for Sickle Cell Disease

Institute of Complex Systems: Structural Biochemistry, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife 220282, Nigeria
Institute of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rainer Riedl
Molecules 2019, 24(24), 4551;
Received: 30 September 2019 / Revised: 8 December 2019 / Accepted: 9 December 2019 / Published: 12 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Design)
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited disorders affecting red blood cells, which is caused by a single mutation that results in substitution of the amino acid valine for glutamic acid in the sixth position of the β-globin chain of hemoglobin. These mutant hemoglobin molecules, called hemoglobin S, can polymerize upon deoxygenation, causing erythrocytes to adopt a sickled form and to suffer hemolysis and vaso-occlusion. Until recently, only two drug therapies for SCD, which do not even fully address the manifestations of SCD, were approved by the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration. A third treatment was newly approved, while a monoclonal antibody preventing vaso-occlusive crises is also now available. The complex nature of SCD manifestations provides multiple critical points where drug discovery efforts can be and have been directed. These notwithstanding, the need for new therapeutic approaches remains high and one of the recent efforts includes developments aimed at inhibiting the polymerization of hemoglobin S. This review focuses on anti-sickling approaches using peptide-based inhibitors, ranging from individual amino acid dipeptides investigated 30–40 years ago up to more promising 12- and 15-mers under consideration in recent years. View Full-Text
Keywords: hemoglobin; polymerization inhibitors; hemoglobin modifiers; sickle cell treatment hemoglobin; polymerization inhibitors; hemoglobin modifiers; sickle cell treatment
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Olubiyi, O.O.; Olagunju, M.O.; Strodel, B. Rational Drug Design of Peptide-Based Therapies for Sickle Cell Disease. Molecules 2019, 24, 4551.

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