This U01 application ("Alzheimer's Disease Drug Development Program", PAR-05-148) from the University of Pennsylvania builds on the recent landmark observations of Virginia Lee and John Trojanowski (U01 investigators) that provide compelling support for the hypothesis that microtubule (MT)-stabilizing agents hold great promise for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related neurodegenerative diseases. Central to this hypothesis is the understanding that the MT-stabilizing tau proteins of the central nervous system (CMS) are sequestered into filamentous inclusions that are the signature lesions of AD and related tauopathies, thereby compromising the normal function of tau in stabilizing and maintaining MT networks essential for axonal transport and axon survival. The central thrust of this U01 program is therefore to identify and evaluate potential MT-stabilizing agents as novel drug candidates. Critically important issues related to compound selection that will be addressed include systemic toxicity and availability in the CNS. To this end, and in light of the considerable progress made both in the synthesis and biological evaluation of MT-stabilizing agents from different classes of natural products since our original U01 application submitted in February of 2006, epothilones have been identified as lead structures. We therefore propose to synthesize eight to ten (8-10) selected epothilones, that based on our preliminary studies as well as published reports, are either known or expected to be CNS-penetrant, with the overarching aim of identifying compounds through in vitro and in vivo screening programs that will: (A) possess effective brain uptake, (B) increase the stability of MT-networks in postmitotic neurons of the CNS, and (C) possess negligible systemic toxicity. Initial in vitro/in vivo assays have been designed to evaluate efficacy, PK, toxicity and drug-like properties. Successful candidates will then be characterized through in vivo efficacy and tolerability studies in normal mice. The most promising candidates will be subjected to efficacy studies employing two distinct Tg animal models. Finally, development of an effective scale-up synthesis for the most promising candidate will permit execution of additional pharmacokinetic and toxicological studies, in order to identify a viable candidate to advance towards an Investigational New Drug (IND) application.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-3 (M1))
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Petanceska, Suzana
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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