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Managing the Liabilities Arising from Structural Alerts: A Safe Philosophy for Medicinal Chemists

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Bioactivation of xenobiotics can, in certain circumstances, result in the formation of reactive electrophilic species. These reactive metabolites may covalently modify proteins and macromolecules and it has been suggested that protein modification is a key initial step in provoking idiosyncratic adverse drug reactions. Understanding these bioactivation pathways is critical in order to rationally design drug candidates with a lower propensity to form reactive intermediates. Herein, we provide an overview of the importance of Structural Alerts and bioactivation pathways and describe the creation of an in-house database as a tool aimed at informing medicinal chemists about these potential liabilities.

Keywords: Structural alerts; bioactivation; covalent protein modification; hepatotoxicity; macromolecules; mechanism based CYP inactivation; metabolic switching; reactive electrophilic species; reactive intermediates; xenobiotics

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2011

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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