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Special Issue "Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pharmacology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. William C. (Trey) Putnam Website E-Mail
Departments of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 5920 Forest Park Avenue, Dallas TX, USA
Interests: clinical pharmacology, drug discovery, drug development, drug regulatory affairs, biomarker discovery, altered metabolism of disease states, advanced analytical techniques
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Stephen F. Amato Website E-Mail
Global Regulatory Affairs/Quality Assurance/Advanced Manufacturing Systems, College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University, USA
Interests: global convergence of biomedical product regulation and reimbursement/market access; regulation of gene and RNA interference-based therapies; biotechnology; biomaterials; advanced manufacturing and healthcare product quality assurance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The discovery and development processes, inclusive of regulatory affairs, manufacturing, and post-market operations, are cornerstones in the commercialization of innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology products to address unmet clinical needs. Effective drug discovery processes provide a continuous pipeline of candidates for drug development, which in turn generates approvable compounds. Novel approaches across the fields of drug discovery, drug development, and regulatory affairs are of paramount interest to multiple healthcare industry stakeholders, including patients, biopharmaceutical manufacturers, clinicians, provider institutions, and payers. Examples of such innovations include enhanced drug screening protocols, in silico methodologies, computational-based toxicology, advanced manufacturing approaches, continuous manufacturing, process analytical technology, adaptive clinical trial designs, rolling marketing application submissions, and utilization of real-world evidence. The acceleration of and improvements to the drug development continuum will yield a more efficient and cost-effective pharmaceutical and biotechnology product commercialization process, as well as safer and more effective therapies, which provide improved clinical outcomes.

This Special Issue, “Drug Discovery, Drug Development and Regulatory Affairs”, will focus on novel approaches (original research articles) as well as reviews of current practices surrounding the continuum of taking products from the beaker to the bedside. This Special Issue will present innovative research involving aspects of drug discovery, drug development, regulatory science, commercialization, and market access for both small-molecule pharmaceuticals, as well as biotechnology products.

Prof. Dr. William C. (Trey) Putnam
Prof. Dr. Stephen F. Amato
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • drug discovery
  • drug development
  • biotechnology
  • target identification
  • target validation
  • regulatory affairs
  • regulatory sciences
  • drug commercialization
  • pharmaceutical market access
  • drug screening
  • novel nonclinical models/approaches
  • advanced manufacturing
  • continuous manufacturing
  • process analytical technology
  • adaptive clinical trials
  • in silico laboratory and clinical development
  • rolling submissions
  • accelerated approvals
  • real world evidence

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
N-Methylparoxetine Blocked Autophagic Flux and Induced Apoptosis by Activating ROS-MAPK Pathway in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143415 - 11 Jul 2019
Abstract
The main mechanistic function of most chemotherapeutic drugs is mediated by inducing mitochondria-dependent apoptosis. Tumor cells usually respond to upregulate autophagy to eliminate impaired mitochondria for survival. Hypothetically, inhibiting autophagy might promote mitochondria-dependent apoptosis, thus enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapeutic therapies. We previously [...] Read more.
The main mechanistic function of most chemotherapeutic drugs is mediated by inducing mitochondria-dependent apoptosis. Tumor cells usually respond to upregulate autophagy to eliminate impaired mitochondria for survival. Hypothetically, inhibiting autophagy might promote mitochondria-dependent apoptosis, thus enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapeutic therapies. We previously identified N-methylparoxetine (NMP) as an inducer of mitochondrial fragmentation with subsequent apoptosis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. We discovered that ROS was accumulated in NMP-treated NSCLC cells, followed by c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAP kinase (p38) activation. This was reversed by the application of a reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), leading to a reduction in apoptosis. Our data suggested that NMP induced apoptosis in NSCLC cells by activating mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. We further speculated that the remarkable increase of ROS in NMP-treated NSCLC cells might result from an inhibition of autophagy. Our current data confirmed that NMP blocked autophagy flux at late stage wherein lysosomal acidification was inhibited. Taken together, this study demonstrated that NMP could exert dual apoptotic functions—mitochondria impairment and, concomitantly, autophagy inhibition. NMP-related excessive ROS accumulation induced apoptosis by activating the MAPK pathway in NSCLC cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
A Pilot Study towards the Impact of Type 2 Diabetes on the Expression and Activities of Drug Metabolizing Enzymes and Transporters in Human Duodenum
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(13), 3257; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20133257 - 02 Jul 2019
Abstract
To characterize effects of type 2 diabetes (T2D) on mRNA expression levels for 10 Cytochromes P450 (CYP450s), two carboxylesterases, and three drug transporters (ABCB1, ABCG2, SLCO2B1) in human duodenal biopsies. To compare drug metabolizing enzyme activities of four CYP450 isoenzymes in duodenal biopsies [...] Read more.
To characterize effects of type 2 diabetes (T2D) on mRNA expression levels for 10 Cytochromes P450 (CYP450s), two carboxylesterases, and three drug transporters (ABCB1, ABCG2, SLCO2B1) in human duodenal biopsies. To compare drug metabolizing enzyme activities of four CYP450 isoenzymes in duodenal biopsies from patients with or without T2D. mRNA levels were quantified (RT-qPCR) in human duodenal biopsies obtained from patients with (n = 20) or without (n = 16) T2D undergoing a scheduled gastro-intestinal endoscopy. CYP450 activities were determined following incubation of biopsy homogenates with probe substrates for CYP2B6 (bupropion), CYP2C9 (tolbutamide), CYP2J2 (ebastine), and CYP3A4/5 (midazolam). Covariables related to inflammation, T2D, demographic, and genetics were investigated. T2D had no major effects on mRNA levels of all enzymes and transporters assessed. Formation rates of metabolites (pmoles mg protein−1 min−1) determined by LC-MS/MS for CYP2C9 (0.48 ± 0.26 vs. 0.41 ± 0.12), CYP2J2 (2.16 ± 1.70 vs. 1.69 ± 0.93), and CYP3A (5.25 ± 3.72 vs. 5.02 ± 4.76) were not different between biopsies obtained from individuals with or without T2D (p > 0.05). No CYP2B6 specific activity was measured. TNF-α levels were higher in T2D patients but did not correlate with any changes in mRNA expression levels for drug metabolizing enzymes or transporters in the duodenum. T2D did not modulate expression or activity of tested drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters in the human duodenum. Previously reported changes in drug oral clearances in patients with T2D could be due to a tissue-specific disease modulation occurring in the liver and/or in other parts of the intestines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
Isolated Compounds from Turpinia formosana Nakai Induce Ossification
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(13), 3119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20133119 - 26 Jun 2019
Abstract
Bone metabolism is a homeostatic process, imbalance in which leads to the onset of diseases such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. Although several drugs are currently available to treat such conditions, they are associated with severe side effects and do not enhance bone formation. [...] Read more.
Bone metabolism is a homeostatic process, imbalance in which leads to the onset of diseases such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. Although several drugs are currently available to treat such conditions, they are associated with severe side effects and do not enhance bone formation. Thus, identifying alternative treatment strategies that focus on enhancing bone formation is essential. Herein, we explored the osteogenic potential of Turpinia formosana Nakai using human osteoblast (HOb) cells. The plant extract was subjected to various chromatographic techniques to obtain six compounds, including one new compound: 3,3′-di-O-methylellagic acid-4-O-α-l-arabinofuranoside (1). Compounds 3,3′-di-O-methylellagic acid-4-O-α-l-arabinofuranoside (1), gentisic acid 5-O-β-d-(6′-O-galloyl) glucopyranoside (2), strictinin (3), and (-)-epicatechin-3-O-β-d-allopyranoside (6) displayed no significant cytotoxicity toward HOb cells, and thus their effects on various osteogenic markers were analyzed. Results showed that 13 and 6 significantly increased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity up to 120.0, 121.3, 116.4, and 125.1%, respectively. Furthermore, 1, 2, and 6 also markedly enhanced the mineralization process with respective values of up to 136.4, 118.9, and 134.6%. In addition, the new compound, 1, significantly increased expression levels of estrogen receptor-α (133.4%) and osteogenesis-related genes of Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), osteopontin (OPN), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2, bone sialoprotein (BSP), type I collagen (Col-1), and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) by at least 1.5-fold. Our results demonstrated that compounds isolated from T. formosana possess robust osteogenic potential, with the new compound, 1, also exhibiting the potential to enhance the bone formation process. We suggest that T. formosana and its isolated active compounds deserve further evaluation for development as anti-osteoporotic agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
Virtual Screening Guided Design, Synthesis and Bioactivity Study of Benzisoselenazolones (BISAs) on Inhibition of c-Met and Its Downstream Signalling Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102489 - 20 May 2019
Abstract
c-Met is a transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase and an important therapeutic target for anticancer drugs. In this study, we designed a small library containing 300 BISAs molecules that consisted of carbohydrates, amino acids, isothiourea, tetramethylthiourea, guanidine and heterocyclic groups and screened c-Met targeting [...] Read more.
c-Met is a transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase and an important therapeutic target for anticancer drugs. In this study, we designed a small library containing 300 BISAs molecules that consisted of carbohydrates, amino acids, isothiourea, tetramethylthiourea, guanidine and heterocyclic groups and screened c-Met targeting compounds using docking and MM/GBSA. Guided by virtual screening, we synthesised a series of novel compounds and their activity on inhibition of the autophosphorylation of c-Met and its downstream signalling pathway proteins were evaluated. We found a panel of benzisoselenazolones (BISAs) obtained by introducing isothiourea, tetramethylthiourea and heterocyclic groups into the C-ring of Ebselen, including 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b and 12c (with IC50 values of less than 20 μM in MET gene amplified lung cancer cell line EBC-1), exhibited more potent antitumour activity than Ebselen by cell growth assay combined with in vitro biochemical assays. In addition, we also tested the antitumour activity of three cancer cell lines without MET gene amplification/activation, including DLD1, MDA-MB-231 and A549. The neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells with HGF overexpression which activates MET signalling are sensitive to MET inhibitors. The results reveal that our compounds may be nonspecific multitarget kinase inhibitors, just like type-II small molecule inhibitors. Western blot analysis showed that these inhibitors inhibited autophosphorylation of c-MET, and its downstream signalling pathways, such as PI3K/AKT and MARK/ERK. Results suggest that bensoisoselenones can be used as a scaffold for the design of c-Met inhibiting drug leads, and this study opens up new possibilities for future antitumour drug design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
Lipid Modulating Anti-oxidant Stress Activity of Gastrodin on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Larval Zebrafish Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(8), 1984; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20081984 - 23 Apr 2019
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the most common chronic liver disease in the world. However, there are still no drugs for NAFLD/NASH in the market. Gastrodin (GAS) is a bioactive compound that is extracted from Gastrodia elata, which [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the most common chronic liver disease in the world. However, there are still no drugs for NAFLD/NASH in the market. Gastrodin (GAS) is a bioactive compound that is extracted from Gastrodia elata, which is used as an active compound on nervous system diseases. Recent reports showed that GAS and Gastrodia elata possess anti-oxidant activity and lipid regulating effects, which makes us curious to reveal the anti-NAFLD effect of GAS. A high cholesterol diet (HCD) was used to induce a NAFLD larval zebrafish model, and the lipid regulation and anti-oxidant effects were tested on the model. Furthermore, qRT-PCR studied the underlying mechanism of GAS. To conclude, this study revealed a lipid regulation and anti-oxidant insights of GAS on NAFLD larval zebrafish model and provided a potential therapeutic compound for NAFLD treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
Targeted Capture of Chinese Hamster Ovary Host Cell Proteins: Peptide Ligand Discovery
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20071729 - 08 Apr 2019
Abstract
The growing integration of quality-by-design (QbD) concepts in biomanufacturing calls for a detailed and quantitative knowledge of the profile of impurities and their impact on the product safety and efficacy. Particularly valuable is the determination of the residual level of host cell proteins [...] Read more.
The growing integration of quality-by-design (QbD) concepts in biomanufacturing calls for a detailed and quantitative knowledge of the profile of impurities and their impact on the product safety and efficacy. Particularly valuable is the determination of the residual level of host cell proteins (HCPs) secreted, together with the product of interest, by the recombinant cells utilized for production. Though often referred to as a single impurity, HCPs comprise a variety of species with diverse abundance, size, function, and composition. The clearance of these impurities is a complex issue due to their cell line to cell line, product-to-product, and batch-to-batch variations. Improvements in HCP monitoring through proteomic-based methods have led to identification of a subset of “problematic” HCPs that are particularly challenging to remove, both at the product capture and product polishing steps, and compromise product stability and safety even at trace concentrations. This paper describes the development of synthetic peptide ligands capable of capturing a broad spectrum of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) HCPs with a combination of peptide species that allow for advanced mixed-mode binding. Solid phase peptide libraries were screened for identification and characterization of peptides that capture CHO HCPs while showing minimal binding of human IgG, utilized here as a model product. Tetrameric and hexameric ligands featuring either multipolar or hydrophobic/positive amino acid compositions were found to be the most effective. Tetrameric multipolar ligands exhibited the highest targeted binding ratio (ratio of HCP clearance over IgG loss), more than double that of commercial mixed-mode and anion exchange resins utilized by industry for IgG polishing. All peptide resins tested showed preferential binding to HCPs compared to IgG, indicating potential uses in flow-through mode or weak-partitioning-mode chromatography. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
IMM-H004 Protects against Cerebral Ischemia Injury and Cardiopulmonary Complications via CKLF1 Mediated Inflammation Pathway in Adult and Aged Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20071661 - 03 Apr 2019
Abstract
(1) Background: Chemokine-like factor 1 (CKLF1) is a chemokine with potential to be a target for stroke therapy. Compound IMM-H004 is a novel coumarin derivative screened from a CKLF1/C-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CCR4) system and has been reported to improve cerebral ischemia/reperfusion [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Chemokine-like factor 1 (CKLF1) is a chemokine with potential to be a target for stroke therapy. Compound IMM-H004 is a novel coumarin derivative screened from a CKLF1/C-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CCR4) system and has been reported to improve cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury. This study aims to investigate the protective effects of IMM-H004 on cerebral ischemia injury and its infectious cardiopulmonary complications in adult and aged rats from the CKLF1 perspective. (2) Methods: The effects of IMM-H004 on the protection was determined by 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining, behavior tests, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Nissl staining, histo-pathological examination, and cardiopulmonary function detection. Immunohistological staining, immunofluorescence staining, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), and western blotting were used to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. (3) Results: IMM-H004 protects against cerebral ischemia induced brain injury and its cardiopulmonary complications, inhibiting injury, and inflammation through CKLF1-dependent anti-inflammation pathway in adult and aged rats. IMM-H004 downregulates the amount of CKLF1, suppressing the followed inflammatory response, and further protects the damaged organs from ischemic injury. (4) Conclusions: The present study suggested that the protective mechanism of IMM-H004 is dependent on CKLF1, which will lead to excessive inflammatory response in cerebral ischemia. IMM-H004 could also be a therapeutic agent in therapy for ischemic stroke and cardiopulmonary complications in the aged population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
Carnosol as a Nrf2 Activator Improves Endothelial Barrier Function Through Antioxidative Mechanisms
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(4), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040880 - 18 Feb 2019
Abstract
Oxidative stress is the main pathogenesis of diabetic microangiopathy, which can cause microvascular endothelial cell damage and destroy vascular barrier. In this study, it is found that carnosol protects human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) through antioxidative mechanisms. First, we measured the antioxidant activity [...] Read more.
Oxidative stress is the main pathogenesis of diabetic microangiopathy, which can cause microvascular endothelial cell damage and destroy vascular barrier. In this study, it is found that carnosol protects human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) through antioxidative mechanisms. First, we measured the antioxidant activity of carnosol. We showed that carnosol pretreatment suppressed tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BHP)-induced cell viability, affected the production of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as well as reactive oxygen species (ROS), and increased the produce of nitric oxide (NO). Additionally, carnosol promotes the protein expression of vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) to keep the integrity of intercellular junctions, which indicated that it protected microvascular barrier in oxidative stress. Meanwhile, we investigated that carnosol can interrupt Nrf2-Keap1 protein−protein interaction and stimulated antioxidant-responsive element (ARE)-driven luciferase activity in vitro. Mechanistically, we showed that carnosol promotes the expression of heme oxygenase 1(HO-1) and nuclear factor-erythroid 2 related factor 2(Nrf2). It can also promote the expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Collectively, our data support the notion that carnosol is a protective agent in HMVECs and has the potential for therapeutic use in the treatments of microvascular endothelial cell injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
Daphnetin: A Novel Anti-Helicobacter pylori Agent
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(4), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040850 - 15 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Antibiotic-resistant H. pylori was increasingly found in infected individuals, which resulted in treatment failure and required alternative therapeutic strategies. Daphnetin, a coumarin-derivative compound, has multiple pharmacological activities. Methods: The mechanism of daphnetin on H. pylori was investigated focusing on its effect on [...] Read more.
Background: Antibiotic-resistant H. pylori was increasingly found in infected individuals, which resulted in treatment failure and required alternative therapeutic strategies. Daphnetin, a coumarin-derivative compound, has multiple pharmacological activities. Methods: The mechanism of daphnetin on H. pylori was investigated focusing on its effect on cell morphologies, transcription of genes related to virulence, adhesion, and cytotoxicity to human gastric epithelial (GES-1) cell line. Results: Daphnetin showed good activities against multidrug resistant (MDR) H. pylori clinical isolates, with minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values ranging from 25 to 100 μg/mL. In addition, daphnetin exposure resulted in H. pylori morphological changes. Moreover, daphnetin caused increased translocation of phosphatidylserine (PS), DNA damage, and recA expression, and RecA protein production vs. control group. Of great importance, daphnetin significantly decreased H. pylori adhesion to GES-1 cell line vs. control group, which may be related to the reduced expression of colonization related genes (e.g., babA and ureI). Conclusions: These results suggested that daphnetin has good activity against MDR H. pylori. The mechanism(s) of daphnetin against H. pylori were related to change of membrane structure, increase of DNA damage and PS translocation, and decrease of H. pylori attachment to GES-1 cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
Network Pharmacology-Based Investigation of Protective Mechanism of Aster tataricus on Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Acute Lung Injury
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030543 - 28 Jan 2019
Abstract
Acute lung injury (ALI) is a common clinical condition that badly influences people’s health. Recent studies indicated that Aster tataricus (RA) had potential effects on ALI, but the effective components and their mechanism is not clear. In this study, we found that the [...] Read more.
Acute lung injury (ALI) is a common clinical condition that badly influences people’s health. Recent studies indicated that Aster tataricus (RA) had potential effects on ALI, but the effective components and their mechanism is not clear. In this study, we found that the Fraction-75 eluted from RA extract could significantly protect the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced ALI in mice, including alleviating the severity of lung pathology, attenuating the pulmonary edema, and reducing the release of inflammatory cells. Further ingredient analyses demonstrated that there were mainly 16 components in it, among which 10 components were collected according to their relative peak area and oral bioavailability. Next, the components-disease targets network suggested that the candidate components had extensive associations with 49 known therapeutic targets of ALI, among which 31 targets could be regulated by more than one component. Herein, GO functional and pathway analysis revealed that the common targets were associated with four biological processes, including the inflammatory response to stimulus, cellular process, chemokine biosynthetic process and immune system process. Furthermore, the ELISA validation indicated that the candidate components in RA extract may protect the LPS-induced ALI mainly through inhibiting the release of inflammatory cytokines and promoting the repair of vascular endothelial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
YC-1 Prevents Tumor-Associated Tissue Factor Expression and Procoagulant Activity in Hypoxic Conditions by Inhibiting p38/NF-κB Signaling Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(2), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20020244 - 09 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Tissue factor (TF) expressed in cancer cells has been linked to tumor-associated thrombosis, a major cause of mortality in malignancy. Hypoxia is a common feature of solid tumors and can upregulate TF. In this study, the effect of YC-1, a putative inhibitor of [...] Read more.
Tissue factor (TF) expressed in cancer cells has been linked to tumor-associated thrombosis, a major cause of mortality in malignancy. Hypoxia is a common feature of solid tumors and can upregulate TF. In this study, the effect of YC-1, a putative inhibitor of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), on hypoxia-induced TF expression was investigated in human lung cancer A549 cells. YC-1 selectively prevented hypoxia-induced TF expression and procoagulant activity without affecting the basal TF levels. Surprisingly, knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of HIF-1α failed to mimic YC-1′s effect on TF expression, suggesting other mechanisms are involved. NF-κB, a transcription factor for TF, and its upstream regulator p38, were activated by hypoxia exposure. Treatment of hypoxic A549 cells with YC-1 prevented the activation of both NF-κB and p38. Inhibition of p38 suppressed hypoxia-activated NF-κB, and inhibited TF expression and activity to similar levels as treatment with an NF-κB inhibitor. Furthermore, stimulation of p38 by anisomycin reversed the effects of YC-1. Taken together, our results suggest that YC-1 prevents hypoxia-induced TF in cancer cells by inhibiting the p38/NF-κB pathway, this is distinct from the conventional anticoagulants that systemically inhibit blood coagulation and may shed new light on approaches to treat tumor-associated thrombosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
R-Fluoxetine Increases Melanin Synthesis Through a 5-HT1A/2A Receptor and p38 MAPK Signaling Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(1), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010080 - 25 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fluoxetine, a member of the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, is a racemic mixture and has an anxiolytic effect in rodents. Previously, we have shown that fluoxetine can up-regulate melanin synthesis in B16F10 melanoma cells and normal human melanocytes (NMHM). However, the [...] Read more.
Fluoxetine, a member of the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, is a racemic mixture and has an anxiolytic effect in rodents. Previously, we have shown that fluoxetine can up-regulate melanin synthesis in B16F10 melanoma cells and normal human melanocytes (NMHM). However, the role of r-fluoxetine and s-fluoxetine, in the regulation of melanin synthesis, is still unknown. Here, we show how r-fluoxetine plays a critical role in fluoxetine enhancing melanogenesis, both in vivo and vitro, by up-regulating tyrosinase (TYR) and the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) expression, whereas, s-fluoxetine does not show any effect in the vivo and vitro systems. In addition, we found that r-fluoxetine induced melanin synthesis through the serotonin1A receptor (5-HT1A) and serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2A). Furthermore, r-fluoxetine increased the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK), without affecting the phosphorylation of extracellularly responsive kinase (ERK1/2) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). These data suggest that r-fluoxetine may be used as a drug for skin hypopigmentation disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessArticle
Search of Allosteric Inhibitors and Associated Proteins of an AKT-like Kinase from Trypanosoma cruzi
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(12), 3951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19123951 - 08 Dec 2018
Abstract
Proteins associated to the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway are widely used targets for cancer treatment, and in recent years they have also been evaluated as putative targets in trypanosomatids parasites, such as Trypanosoma cruzi. Here, we performed a virtual screening approach to find [...] Read more.
Proteins associated to the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway are widely used targets for cancer treatment, and in recent years they have also been evaluated as putative targets in trypanosomatids parasites, such as Trypanosoma cruzi. Here, we performed a virtual screening approach to find candidates that can bind regions on or near the Pleckstrin homology domain of an AKT-like protein in T. cruzi. The compounds were also evaluated in vitro. The in silico and experimental results allowed us to identify a set of compounds that can potentially alter the intracellular signaling pathway through the AKT-like kinase of the parasite; among them, a derivative of the pyrazolopyridine nucleus with an IC50 of 14.25 ± 1.00 μM against amastigotes of T. cruzi. In addition, we built a protein–protein interaction network of T. cruzi to understand the role of the AKT-like protein in the parasite, and look for additional proteins that can be postulated as possible novel molecular targets for the rational design of compounds against T. cruzi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Discontinued Drugs for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease from 2016 to 2018
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(18), 4513; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20184513 - 12 Sep 2019
Abstract
Cardiovascular drug research and development (R&D) has been in active state and continuously attracts attention from the pharmaceutical industry. However, only one individual drug can eventually reach the market from about the 10,000 compounds tested. It would be useful to learn from these [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular drug research and development (R&D) has been in active state and continuously attracts attention from the pharmaceutical industry. However, only one individual drug can eventually reach the market from about the 10,000 compounds tested. It would be useful to learn from these failures when developing better strategies for the future. Discontinued drugs were identified from a search performed by Thomson Reuters Integrity. Additional information was sought through PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, and pharmaceutical companies search. Twelve compounds discontinued for cardiovascular disease treatment after reaching Phase I–III clinical trials from 2016 to 2018 are detailed in this manuscript, and the reasons for these failures are reported. Of these, six candidates (MDCO-216, TRV027, ubenimex, sodium nitrite, losmapimod, and bococizumab) were dropped for lack of clinical efficacy, the other six for strategic or unspecified reasons. In total, three candidates were discontinued in Phase I trials, six in Phase II, and three in Phase III. It was reported that the success rate of drug R&D utilizing selection biomarkers is higher. Four candidate developments (OPC-108459, ONO-4232, GSK-2798745, and TAK-536TCH) were run without biomarkers, which could be used as surrogate endpoints in the 12 cardiovascular drugs discontinued from 2016 to 2018. This review will be useful for those involved in the field of drug discovery and development, and for those interested in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
Open AccessReview
Flexible and Expedited Regulatory Review Processes for Innovative Medicines and Regenerative Medical Products in the US, the EU, and Japan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(15), 3801; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153801 - 03 Aug 2019
Abstract
Several expedited regulatory review projects for innovative drugs and regenerative medical products have been developed in the US, the EU, and Japan. Each regulatory agency has elaborated an original regulatory framework and adopted regulatory projects developed by the other regulatory agencies. For example, [...] Read more.
Several expedited regulatory review projects for innovative drugs and regenerative medical products have been developed in the US, the EU, and Japan. Each regulatory agency has elaborated an original regulatory framework and adopted regulatory projects developed by the other regulatory agencies. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first developed the breakthrough therapy designation, and then the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) introduced the Sakigake designation and the priority medicines (PRIME) designation, respectively. In addition, the necessity of the product being first development in Japan is the original feature of the Sakigake designation, while actively supporting the development of advanced-therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) by academia or small/medium-sized sponsors is the original feature of the PRIME; these particular features are different from the breakthrough therapy designation in the US. In this review article, flexible and expedited review processes for new drugs, and cell and gene therapies in the US, the EU, and Japan are described. Moreover, all the drugs and regenerative medical products that were granted conditional approval or Sakigake designation in Japan are listed and analyzed herein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessReview
Effects of Anti-Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide for Migraines: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3527; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143527 - 18 Jul 2019
Abstract
We aimed to evaluate the response rate of migraines by using anti-calcitonin gene-related peptide (anti-CGRP) for patients with migraines. We searched three main medical databases up to 29 March 2019. No restriction on language and publication time were applied. Eligible trials included randomized [...] Read more.
We aimed to evaluate the response rate of migraines by using anti-calcitonin gene-related peptide (anti-CGRP) for patients with migraines. We searched three main medical databases up to 29 March 2019. No restriction on language and publication time were applied. Eligible trials included randomized clinical trials investigating a 50%, 75%, and 100% response rate of migraine patients after anti-CGRP intervention. The collected data were dichotomous, and risk ratios (RRs) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) were used to present the quantitative synthesis results. The systematic review identified 16 eligible randomized clinical trials (RCTs) with 9439 patients. Eight of the 16 trials with 2516 patients reported a 50% response rate, and the pooled results showed a significant benefit from anti-CGRP. However, the effects seem to gradually reduce from the first month (RR 1.99, 95% CI 1.59 to 2.49) to the third month (RR 1.48, 95% CI 1.26 to 1.75) of treatment. The magnitude of effect was influenced by the type of anti-CGRP, according to the test for differences between subgroups (I-square = 53%). The funnel plots and Egger’s tests did not show serious small study effects in the results. In conclusion, the current evidences confirmed that anti-CGRP treatment can reduce migraine pain in the short term (within three months), but the long-term effect should be investigated in the future. Moreover, its effects may be influenced by the type and dose of anti-CGRP. Therefore, future studies should make direct comparisons among anti-CGRP medications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessReview
Effect of Different Classes of Antihypertensive Drugs on Endothelial Function and Inflammation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3458; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143458 - 14 Jul 2019
Abstract
Hypertension is characterized by structural and functional changes in blood vessels that travel with increased arterial stiffness, vascular inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction. Some antihypertensive drugs have been shown to improve endothelial function and reduce levels of inflammatory markers regardless of the effect of [...] Read more.
Hypertension is characterized by structural and functional changes in blood vessels that travel with increased arterial stiffness, vascular inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction. Some antihypertensive drugs have been shown to improve endothelial function and reduce levels of inflammatory markers regardless of the effect of blood pressure lowering. Third-generation β-blockers, such as nebivolol and carvedilol, because they have additional properties, have been shown to improve endothelial function in patients with hypertension. Calcium channel antagonists, because they have antioxidant effects, may improve endothelial function and vascular inflammation.The Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARBs) are able to improve endothelial dysfunction and vascular inflammation in patients with hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have shown beneficial effects on endothelial function in patients with hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, however there are few studies evaluating the effect of treatment with this class on the reduction of C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Further studies are needed to assess whether treatment of endothelial dysfunction and vascular inflammation may improve the prognosis of patients with essential hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
Open AccessReview
QT Assessment in Early Drug Development: The Long and the Short of It
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(6), 1324; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061324 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The QT interval occupies a pivotal role in drug development as a surface biomarker of ventricular repolarization. The electrophysiologic substrate for QT prolongation coupled with reports of non-cardiac drugs producing lethal arrhythmias captured worldwide attention from government regulators eventuating in a series of [...] Read more.
The QT interval occupies a pivotal role in drug development as a surface biomarker of ventricular repolarization. The electrophysiologic substrate for QT prolongation coupled with reports of non-cardiac drugs producing lethal arrhythmias captured worldwide attention from government regulators eventuating in a series of guidance documents that require virtually all new chemical compounds to undergo rigorous preclinical and clinical testing to profile their QT liability. While prolongation or shortening of the QT interval may herald the appearance of serious cardiac arrhythmias, the positive predictive value of an abnormal QT measurement for these arrhythmias is modest, especially in the absence of confounding clinical features or a congenital predisposition that increases the risk of syncope and sudden death. Consequently, there has been a paradigm shift to assess a compound’s cardiac risk of arrhythmias centered on a mechanistic approach to arrhythmogenesis rather than focusing solely on the QT interval. This entails both robust preclinical and clinical assays along with the emergence of concentration QT modeling as a primary analysis tool to determine whether delayed ventricular repolarization is present. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the QT interval and highlight its central role in early drug development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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Open AccessReview
Iron Metabolism in Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010095 - 27 Dec 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Demanded as an essential trace element that supports cell growth and basic functions, iron can be harmful and cancerogenic though. By exchanging between its different oxidized forms, iron overload induces free radical formation, lipid peroxidation, DNA, and protein damages, leading to carcinogenesis or [...] Read more.
Demanded as an essential trace element that supports cell growth and basic functions, iron can be harmful and cancerogenic though. By exchanging between its different oxidized forms, iron overload induces free radical formation, lipid peroxidation, DNA, and protein damages, leading to carcinogenesis or ferroptosis. Iron also plays profound roles in modulating tumor microenvironment and metastasis, maintaining genomic stability and controlling epigenetics. in order to meet the high requirement of iron, neoplastic cells have remodeled iron metabolism pathways, including acquisition, storage, and efflux, which makes manipulating iron homeostasis a considerable approach for cancer therapy. Several iron chelators and iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) has recently been developed for cancer intervention and presented considerable effects. This review summarizes some latest findings about iron metabolism function and regulation mechanism in cancer and the application of iron chelators and IONPs in cancer diagnosis and therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery, Development and Regulatory Affairs)
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