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The overexpression of permeability-glycoprotein (P-gp) and other drug transporters (ATP-binding cassette) confers a multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype on cells in various diseases, including many forms of cancer. Development of MDR is one of the main reasons of failure in malignant tumour chemotherapy, as tumour cells, by increasing drug efflux, acquire cross-resistance to many structurally and functionally unrelated anticancer agents, which therefore never achieve effective intracellular concentrations. Endeavouring to find MDR-reverters is a crucial task for exploring new anti-cancer therapeutic intervention. Although many P-gp inhibitors have so far been identified, it is widely recognised that their interaction with P-gp is a complex process and, presently, the details of the mechanisms of action are still a matter of debate. These compounds turned out, however, to be of limited clinical usefulness owing to their inherent pharmacological activities (first generation compounds) and their accessory, inhibiting activity on CYP enzyme system (second generation compounds). Moreover, recent advances of the knowledge on P-gp structure and function and on the mechanisms of P-gp inhibition will prove fruitful for the development of novel therapeutically effective P-gp inhibitors. A dibenzoyl-1,4- dihydropyridine compound (DP7) has been shown to be a powerful P-gp inhibitor, almost devoid of cardiovascular effects, but capable of inhibiting liver CYP3A. DP7 is considered a lead compound for the development of novel dihydropyridines which do not affect CYP enzyme system but still retain the activity towards ABC-efflux transporters.
Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Universita degli Studi di Siena, via A. Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy.
Publication date: August 1, 2006
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Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.