The major drawback of chemotherapy regimens for treating cancer is that the cancerous cells acquire drug resistance and become impervious to further dose escalation. Keeping in mind the studied success of herbal formulations with regard to alternative treatments for cancer, we hypothesized that the use of a chemotherapeutic drug and proprietary herbal formulation, HF1, would combat this phenomenon when administered with common chemotherapeutic drug 5FU. Results demonstrated a cooperative effect between HF1 and 5FU on the drug resistant cell line, implying that administration of HF1 with 5FU results in cell death as measured by MTT assay.
Enzyme chemotaxis is a thermodynamic phenomenon in which enzymes move along a substrate concentration gradient towards regions with higher substrate concentrations and can be used to steer nanovehicles towards targets along natural substrate concentrations. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, a gradient of tau protein forms in the bloodstream. Tau protein is a substrate of the enzyme CDK5, which catalyzes the phosphorylation of tau protein and can travel using chemotaxis along tau protein gradients to increasing concentrations of tau and amyloid-beta proteins. The authors hypothesized that CDK5 would be able to overcome these barriers of Brownian motion and developed a quantitative model using Michaelis-Menten kinetics to define the necessary parameters to confirm and characterize CDK5’s chemotactic behavior to establish its utility in drug delivery and other applications.
Anticholinergics are used in treating asthma, a chronic inflammation of the airways. These drugs block human M1 and M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, inhibiting bronchoconstriction. However, studies have reported complications of anticholinergic usage, such as exacerbated eosinophil production and worsened urinary retention. Modification of known anticholinergics using bioisosteric replacements to increase efficacy could potentially minimize these complications. The present study focuses on identifying viable analogs of anticholinergics to improve binding energy to the receptors compared to current treatment options. Glycopyrrolate (G), ipratropium (IB), and tiotropium bromide (TB) were chosen as parent drugs of interest, due to the presence of common functional groups within the molecules, specifically esters and alcohols. Docking score analysis via AutoDock Vina was used to evaluate the binding energy between drug analogs and the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. The final results suggest that G-A3, IB-A3, and TB-A1 are the most viable analogs, as binding energy was improved when compared to the parent drug. G-A4, IB-A4, IB-A5, TB-A3, and TB-A4 are also potential candidates, although there were slight regressions in binding energy to both muscarinic receptors for these analogs. By researching the effects of bioisosteric replacements of current anticholinergics, it is evident that there is a potential to provide asthmatics with more effective treatment options.
The authors investigate the ability of machine learning models to developing new drug-like molecules by learning desired chemical properties versus simply generating molecules that similar to those in the training set.
Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is a master regulator of mitosis, initiating key steps of cell cycle regulation, and its overexpression is associated with certain types of cancer. In this study, the authors carefully designed peptides that were able to bind to Plk1 at a location that is important for its proper localization and function. Future studies could further develop these peptides to selectively target Plk1 in cancer cells and induce mitotic arrest.
Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC) is a birth defect where an infant’s corpus callosum, the structure linking the brain’s two hemispheres to allow interhemispheric communication, fails to develop in a typical manner during pregnancy. Existing research on the connection between ACC and epilepsy leaves significant gaps, due to the lack of focused investigation. One important gap is the degree to which ACC may impact the course of epilepsy treatment and outcomes. The present study was conducted to test the hypotheses that epilepsy is highly prevalent among individuals with ACC, and that those with both ACC and epilepsy have a lower response rate to anticonvulsant drugs than other patients treated with anticonvulsant drugs. A weighted average of epilepsy rates was calculated from a review of existing literature, which supported the hypothesis that epilepsy was more common among individuals with ACC (25.11%) than in the general population (1.2%). An empirical survey administered to 57 subjects or parents of subjects showed that rate of intractable epilepsy among study subjects with both ACC and epilepsy was substantially higher than the rate found in the general population, indicating that individuals with both conditions had a lower response rate to the anticonvulsant drugs. This study contributes novel results regarding the potential for concurrence of ACC and epilepsy to interfere with anticonvulsant drug treatment. We also discuss implications for how medical professionals may use the findings of this study to add depth to their treatment decisions.
In this article the authors address the complex and life quality-diminishing neurodegenerative disease known as Parkinson's. Although genetic and/or environmental factors contribute to the etiology of the disease, the diagnostic symptoms are the same. By genetically modifying fruit flies to exhibit symptoms of Parkinson's disease, they investigate whether drugs that inhibit mitochondrial calcium uptake or activate the lysosomal degradation of proteins could improve the symptoms of Parkinson's these flies exhibit. The authors report the most promising outcome to be that when both types of drugs were used together. Their data provides encouraging evidence to support further investigation of the utility of such drugs in the treatment of human Parkinson's patients.
Cancer is often caused by improper function of a few proteins, and sometimes it takes only a few proteins to malfunction to cause drastic changes in cells. Here the authors look at the genes that were mutated in patients with a type of pancreatic cancer to identify proteins that are important in causing cancer. They also determined which proteins currently lack effective treatment, and suggest that certain proteins (named KRAS, CDKN2A, and RBBP8) are the most important candidates for developing drugs to treat pancreatic cancer.