Optimization of Antischistosomal Chemotypes

Project: Research project

Project Details


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Schistosomiasis is a tropical parasitic disease caused by infections with flukes of the genus Schistosoma, affecting as many as 440 million individuals worldwide, with 779 million living at risk of infection. A new drug for schistosomiasis is urgently
needed as praziquantel is currently the drug of last resort and the development of resistance cannot be ignored, particularly in view of its large-scale use in many endemic. Our long-term goal is to discover a new orally active single-dose antischistosomal drug with activities against all parasite stages and with a novel mechanism of action. The objective of this proposal is to identify one or more antischistosomal drug development candidates. To accomplish this objective, we will optimize four promising antischistosomal chemotypes - ozonides, aryl hydantoins, urea carboxylic acids, and N,N'-diarylureas. We propose four specific aims: 1) to synthesize and characterize target compounds; 2) to assess pharmacokinetics and antischistosomal activity of target compounds; 3) to further profile selected target compounds using more rigorous assays; and 4) to initiate mechanism of action (MOA) studies for optimized target compounds. Compound design will be informed by existing SAR and will maximize structural diversity guided by prospective in silico physicochemical profiling. Based on iterative feedback from physicochemical profiling, in vitro ADME, and cytotoxicity (SA 1), ex vivo and in vivo antischistosomal activity and in vivo ADME (SA 2 and 3), new structural hypotheses will arise, and we will synthesize additional target compounds. Target compounds will progress through the various assays using clearly defined progression criteria. We suggest that this proposed research is innovative for several reasons. First, the first three chemotypes (ozonides, aryl hydantoins, urea carboxylic acids) have proven in vivo antischistosomal efficacy, but have very low to no ex vitro (in vivo) activity, the reverse of the usual situation where lead compounds
have in vitro but no in vivo activity. Thus, mechanistic investigation of these chemotypes may lead to new therapeutic approaches/drug targets for schistosomiasis. Second, for the aryl hydantoins, we outline a design strategy to decrease antiandrogenic side effects by capitalizing on negative SAR data gleaned from androgen receptor (AR) ligand binding studies to decrease, not increase, AR binding affinity. The expected outcome from this work is to identify one or more antischistosomal drug development candidates effective against all parasite stages and with a novel mechanism of action. This proposed research is significant because a new drug would be important in the chemotherapy of drug-resistant schistosomiasis and likely be valuable in integrated control programs to curb this parasitic disease.
Effective start/end date2/1/151/31/20


  • National Institutes of Health: $598,659.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $623,909.00


  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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