The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Peptides

The topic of this month’s newsletter from Drug Discovery Today is “Peptides”.

I suppose it shows my ignorance, but I was very surprised when a few years ago, an article from 2015 by Keld Fosgerau and Torsten Hoffmann entitled “Peptide therapeutics: current status and future directions” turned out to be one of the most downloaded articles of the year. I guess that I’m not alone in being seduced by the latest high profile, high tech approaches to drug discovery and forget (and need reminding) that the older, perhaps more bread and butter technologies still continue to have value and longevity. Currently (well, this afternoon) according to PlumX metrics the Fosgerau and Hoffman review has been cited some 837 times and captured by 1,603 individuals. It continues to be one of our most downloaded articles. At the time I had a look back and saw that articles on peptides were almost universally well-received and I’ve endeavoured to commission high profile articles on peptides since. We revisit the topic in newsletters, the latest was in March 2018, so I suppose we are well overdue for a return visit on the topic. I hope that you find the articles in this offering just as interesting and thought-provoking as the previous articles, I know I did.

The first article, “Bicyclic peptides: types, synthesis and applications” is by Shahrzad Ahangarzadeh, Mohammad M.Kanafi, Simzar Hosseinzadeh, Ahad Mokhtarzadeh, Mahmood Barati, Javad Ranjbari and Lobat Tayebi from Iran. The authors highlight that bicyclic peptides represent a highly promising platform for drug development due to the chemical similarity, both physical and chemical, to potential biological targets. They are known to be able to substitute for more complex biomolecules, particularly antibodies, yet can also benefit in that they can equally used in the “small organic molecular space”. The article deals with production and recent applications in drug targeting and imaging.
The second article in the series comes from Osmar N. Silva, William F. Porto, Suzana M. Ribeiro, Ingrid Batista and Octavio Luiz Franco of Brazil.  It is entitled: “Host-defense peptides and their potential use as biomarkers in human diseases.” It departs a little from the theme in that is directed more toward the use of peptides in a biomarker function. The authors highlight how host-defense peptides perform a crucial role in innate and adaptive immunity and how mutations in these molecules are widespread and related specifically to populations and as a result can be correlated with particular diseases and hence, represent potentially-useful biomarkers. The review deals with the most recent findings related to HDPs as biomarkers and their clinical and epidemiologic value.
Finally comes the article from Shruti Rastogi, Shatrunajay Shukla, M. Kalaivani and Gyanendra Nath Singh of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. “Peptide-based therapeutics: quality specifications, regulatory considerations, and prospects.” The article provides an interpharmacopoeial comparison of quality specifications of peptide-based drug monographs and areas for improvement in peptide therapeutics.
Steve Carney was born in Liverpool, England and studied Biochemistry at Liverpool University, obtaining a BSc.(Hons) and then read for a PhD on the Biochemistry and Pathology of Connective Tissue Diseases in Manchester University, in the Departments of Medical Biochemistry and Histopathology. On completion of his PhD he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, where he worked with Professor Helen Muir FRS and Professor Tim Hardingham, on the biochemistry of experimental Osteoarthritis. He joined Eli Lilly and Co. and held a number of positions in Biology R&D, initially in the Connective Tissue Department, but latterly in the Neuroscience Department. He left Lilly to take up his present position as Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Today, at Elsevier. Currently, he also holds an honorary lectureship in Drug Discovery at the University of Surrey, UK. He has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents.

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