Special Issue "Protein Therapeutics"

A special issue of Pharmaceutics (ISSN 1999-4923).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 August 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mire Zloh
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Guest Editor
Honorary Professor
UCL School of Pharmacy, 29/39 Brunswick Square, London, UK
Interests: computer-aided molecular design; molecular dynamics; computational chemistry; protein–ligand interactions; protein–excipient interactions; formulation design; NMR spectroscopy; antimicrobial peptide modelling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Steve Brocchini
Website
Guest Editor
UCL School of Pharmacy, Bloomsbury, London, United Kingdom
Interests: translational research; formulation sciences; chemical conjugation and protein modification; biomedical polymer sciences

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Protein-based medicines are an important segment in healthcare to treat a large range of medical conditions. The number of approved protein therapeutics has been on the increase last few years as they can best serve to address unmet medical needs. The effectiveness and affordability of these therapeutics, due to their high activity and specificity, are often hindered by the suboptimal pharmacokinetics and biodistribution, immunogenicity and dimenished stability. These challenges are being rectified by innovative strategies to alter physicochemical properties of proteins, improve their bioavailability and pharmacokinetics through recombinant technologies, bioconjugation, formulation, mutations and developing drug delivery systems. The Special Issue of Pharmaceutics on "Protein Therapeutics" will address diverse areas related to discovery and development of protein based medicines, including their production, characterization, purification, modifications, formulation and use, as well as opportunities for biopharmaceutical industry. Original research papers, communications or review articles on any of these aspects are welcomed for this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Mire Zloh
Prof. Dr. Steve Brocchini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Proteins
  • Recombinant protein therapy
  • Therapeutic peptides
  • Protein therapeutics
  • Protein formulations
  • Protein modifications
  • Protein expression
  • Protein characterization
  • Protein folding
  • Recombinant therapeutics
  • Protein stability
  • Protein engineering
  • Protein design
  • Protein mutations
  • Antibodies
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Bispecific therapeutics
  • Protein aggregation
  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Protein ligand interaction
  • Protein-excipient interactions
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Excipients
  • Polymeric drug carriers
  • Bioconjugation
  • Polymeric modifiers
  • Biocompatible polymers
  • PEGylation
  • HESylation
  • Dextrin conjugation
  • Cancer therapy
  • Protein vaccines
  • Molecular medicine

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Cysteines and Disulfide-Bridged Macrocyclic Mimics of Teixobactin Analogues and Their Antibacterial Activity Evaluation against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(4), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10040183 - 11 Oct 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Teixobactin is a highly potent cyclic depsipeptide which kills a broad range of multi-drug resistant, Gram-positive bacteria, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) without detectable resistance. In this work, we describe the design and rapid synthesis of novel teixobactin analogues containing two cysteine [...] Read more.
Teixobactin is a highly potent cyclic depsipeptide which kills a broad range of multi-drug resistant, Gram-positive bacteria, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) without detectable resistance. In this work, we describe the design and rapid synthesis of novel teixobactin analogues containing two cysteine moieties, and the corresponding disulfide-bridged cyclic analogues. These analogues differ from previously reported analogues, such as an Arg10-teixobactin, in terms of their macrocyclic ring size, and feature a disulfide bridge instead of an ester linkage. The new teixobactin analogues were screened against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. Interestingly, one teixobactin analogue containing all l-amino acid building blocks showed antibacterial activity against MRSA for the first time. Our data indicates that macrocyclisation of teixobactin analogues with disulfide bridging is important for improved antibacterial activity. In our work, we have demonstrated the unprecedented use of a disulfide bridge in constructing the macrocyclic ring of teixobactin analogues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle
Stabilization of the CD81 Large Extracellular Loop with De Novo Disulfide Bonds Improves Its Amenability for Peptide Grafting
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(3), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10030138 - 27 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Tetraspan proteins are significantly enriched in the membranes of exosomal vesicles (EVs) and their extracellular domains are attractive targets for engineering towards specific antigen recognition units. To enhance the tolerance of a tetraspanin fold to modification, we achieved significant thermal stabilization of the [...] Read more.
Tetraspan proteins are significantly enriched in the membranes of exosomal vesicles (EVs) and their extracellular domains are attractive targets for engineering towards specific antigen recognition units. To enhance the tolerance of a tetraspanin fold to modification, we achieved significant thermal stabilization of the human CD81 large extracellular loop (hCD81 LEL) via de novo disulfide bonds. The best mutants were shown to exhibit a positive shift in the melting temperature (Tm) of up to 25 °C. The combination of two most potent disulfide bonds connecting different strands of the protein resulted in a mutant with a Tm of 109 °C, 43 °C over the Tm of the wild-type hCD81 LEL. A peptide sequence binding to the human transferrin receptor (hTfr) was engrafted into the D-segment of the hCD81 LEL, resulting in a mutant that still exhibited a compact fold. Grafting of the same peptide sequence between helices A and B resulted in a molecule with an aberrant profile in size exclusion chromatography (SEC), which could be improved by a de novo cysteine bond connecting both helices. Both peptide-grafted proteins showed an enhanced internalization into the cell line SK-BR3, which strongly overexpresses hTfr. In summary, the tetraspan LEL fold could be stabilized to enhance its amenability for engineering into a more versatile protein scaffold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle
In Silico Structural Evaluation of Short Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10030072 - 21 Jun 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Cationic peptides with antimicrobial properties are ubiquitous in nature and have been studied for many years in an attempt to design novel antibiotics. However, very few molecules are used in the clinic so far, sometimes due to their complexity but, mostly, as a [...] Read more.
Cationic peptides with antimicrobial properties are ubiquitous in nature and have been studied for many years in an attempt to design novel antibiotics. However, very few molecules are used in the clinic so far, sometimes due to their complexity but, mostly, as a consequence of the unfavorable pharmacokinetic profile associated with peptides. The aim of this work is to investigate cationic peptides in order to identify common structural features which could be useful for the design of small peptides or peptido-mimetics with improved drug-like properties and activity against Gram negative bacteria. Two sets of cationic peptides (AMPs) with known antimicrobial activity have been investigated. The first reference set comprised molecules with experimentally-known conformations available in the protein databank (PDB), and the second one was composed of short peptides active against Gram negative bacteria but with no significant structural information available. The predicted structures of the peptides from the first set were in excellent agreement with those experimentally-observed, which allowed analysis of the structural features of the second group using computationally-derived conformations. The peptide conformations, either experimentally available or predicted, were clustered in an “all vs. all” fashion and the most populated clusters were then analyzed. It was confirmed that these peptides tend to assume an amphipathic conformation regardless of the environment. It was also observed that positively-charged amino acid residues can often be found next to aromatic residues. Finally, a protocol was evaluated for the investigation of the behavior of short cationic peptides in the presence of a membrane-like environment such as dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) micelles. The results presented herein introduce a promising approach to inform the design of novel short peptides with a potential antimicrobial activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Therapeutics)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Concepts and Challenges of Biosimilars in Breast Cancer: The Emergence of Trastuzumab Biosimilars
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(4), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10040168 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
With the development of anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) monoclonal antibodies, trastuzumab-based therapy has become the standard of care among patients with early or advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. However, real-world data have shown that up to a half of patients do [...] Read more.
With the development of anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) monoclonal antibodies, trastuzumab-based therapy has become the standard of care among patients with early or advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. However, real-world data have shown that up to a half of patients do not receive trastuzumab or any other HER2-targeted agent, mainly due to high treatments costs. The prospect of a more enlarged access to trastuzumab treatment lies in the use of biosimilars, as the European and the US patent of the reference products has or will soon expire. Biosimilars are biologics highly similar in terms of quality characteristics, biological activity, safety and efficacy to already approved biologics. The biosimilarity of any European Union (EU)-approved biosimilar is guaranteed based on the comprehensive comparability exercise which includes comparative analytical, non-clinical and clinical studies. In the matter of biosimilars’ interchangeability and substitution, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have adopted different positions, triggering various discussions on the potential immunogenicity and efficacy in individual patients. As more biosimilars are gaining approval, the present review aims to offer concise information for oncologists and pharmacists about the production, approval, interchangeability, and substitution policies of biosimilars used in breast cancer therapy, with a special focus on trastuzumab. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Therapeutics)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
An Evaluation of the Potential of NMR Spectroscopy and Computational Modelling Methods to Inform Biopharmaceutical Formulations
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(4), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10040165 - 21 Sep 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Protein-based therapeutics are considered to be one of the most important classes of pharmaceuticals on the market. The growing need to prolong stability of high protein concentrations in liquid form has proven to be challenging. Therefore, significant effort is being made to design [...] Read more.
Protein-based therapeutics are considered to be one of the most important classes of pharmaceuticals on the market. The growing need to prolong stability of high protein concentrations in liquid form has proven to be challenging. Therefore, significant effort is being made to design formulations which can enable the storage of these highly concentrated protein therapies for up to 2 years. Currently, the excipient selection approach involves empirical high-throughput screening, but does not reveal details on aggregation mechanisms or the molecular-level effects of the formulations under storage conditions. Computational modelling approaches have the potential to elucidate such mechanisms, and rapidly screen in silico prior to experimental testing. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can also provide complementary insights into excipient–protein interactions. This review will highlight the underpinning principles of molecular modelling and NMR spectroscopy. It will also discuss the advancements in the applications of computational and NMR approaches in investigating excipient–protein interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Therapeutics)
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Open AccessReview
Overview of Antibody Drug Delivery
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10030083 - 04 Jul 2018
Cited by 31
Abstract
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are one of the most important classes of therapeutic proteins, which are used to treat a wide number of diseases (e.g., oncology, inflammation and autoimmune diseases). Monoclonal antibody technologies are continuing to evolve to develop medicines with increasingly improved safety [...] Read more.
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are one of the most important classes of therapeutic proteins, which are used to treat a wide number of diseases (e.g., oncology, inflammation and autoimmune diseases). Monoclonal antibody technologies are continuing to evolve to develop medicines with increasingly improved safety profiles, with the identification of new drug targets being one key barrier for new antibody development. There are many opportunities for developing antibody formulations for better patient compliance, cost savings and lifecycle management, e.g., subcutaneous formulations. However, mAb-based medicines also have limitations that impact their clinical use; the most prominent challenges are their short pharmacokinetic properties and stability issues during manufacturing, transport and storage that can lead to aggregation and protein denaturation. The development of long acting protein formulations must maintain protein stability and be able to deliver a large enough dose over a prolonged period. Many strategies are being pursued to improve the formulation and dosage forms of antibodies to improve efficacy and to increase the range of applications for the clinical use of mAbs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Therapeutics)
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Open AccessReview
Anticancer Activity of Bacterial Proteins and Peptides
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10020054 - 30 Apr 2018
Cited by 33
Abstract
Despite much progress in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, tumour diseases constitute one of the main reasons of deaths worldwide. The side effects of chemotherapy and drug resistance of some cancer types belong to the significant current therapeutic problems. Hence, searching for [...] Read more.
Despite much progress in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, tumour diseases constitute one of the main reasons of deaths worldwide. The side effects of chemotherapy and drug resistance of some cancer types belong to the significant current therapeutic problems. Hence, searching for new anticancer substances and medicines are very important. Among them, bacterial proteins and peptides are a promising group of bioactive compounds and potential anticancer drugs. Some of them, including anticancer antibiotics (actinomycin D, bleomycin, doxorubicin, mitomycin C) and diphtheria toxin, are already used in the cancer treatment, while other substances are in clinical trials (e.g., p28, arginine deiminase ADI) or tested in in vitro research. This review shows the current literature data regarding the anticancer activity of proteins and peptides originated from bacteria: antibiotics, bacteriocins, enzymes, nonribosomal peptides (NRPs), toxins and others such as azurin, p28, Entap and Pep27anal2. The special attention was paid to the still poorly understood active substances obtained from the marine sediment bacteria. In total, 37 chemical compounds or groups of compounds with antitumor properties have been described in the present article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Therapeutics)
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Open AccessReview
A Review on Recent Advances in Stabilizing Peptides/Proteins upon Fabrication in Hydrogels from Biodegradable Polymers
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10010016 - 18 Jan 2018
Cited by 27
Abstract
Hydrogels evolved as an outstanding carrier material for local and controlled drug delivery that tend to overcome the shortcomings of old conventional dosage forms for small drugs (NSAIDS) and large peptides and proteins. The aqueous swellable and crosslinked polymeric network structure of hydrogels [...] Read more.
Hydrogels evolved as an outstanding carrier material for local and controlled drug delivery that tend to overcome the shortcomings of old conventional dosage forms for small drugs (NSAIDS) and large peptides and proteins. The aqueous swellable and crosslinked polymeric network structure of hydrogels is composed of various natural, synthetic and semisynthetic biodegradable polymers. Hydrogels have remarkable properties of functionality, reversibility, sterilizability, and biocompatibility. All these dynamic properties of hydrogels have increased the interest in their use as a carrier for peptides and proteins to be released slowly in a sustained manner. Peptide and proteins are remarkable therapeutic agents in today’s world that allow the treatment of severe, chronic and life-threatening diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis. Despite few limitations, hydrogels provide fine tuning of proteins and peptides delivery with enormous impact in clinical medicine. Novels drug delivery systems composed of smart peptides and molecules have the ability to drive self-assembly and form hydrogels at physiological pH. These hydrogels are significantly important for biological and medical fields. The primary objective of this article is to review current issues concerned with the therapeutic peptides and proteins and impact of remarkable properties of hydrogels on these therapeutic agents. Different routes for pharmaceutical peptides and proteins and superiority over other drugs candidates are presented. Recent advances based on various approaches like self-assembly of peptides and small molecules to form novel hydrogels are also discussed. The article will also review the literature concerning the classification of hydrogels on a different basis, polymers used, “release mechanisms” their physical and chemical characteristics and diverse applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Therapeutics)
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