Publications by authors named "Cristina Alli"

7 Publications

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Spiro-containing derivatives show antiparasitic activity against Trypanosoma brucei through inhibition of the trypanothione reductase enzyme.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2020 05 21;14(5):e0008339. Epub 2020 May 21.

Department of Translational and Discovery Research, Pomezia (Roma) Italy.

Trypanothione reductase (TR) is a key enzyme that catalyzes the reduction of trypanothione, an antioxidant dithiol that protects Trypanosomatid parasites from oxidative stress induced by mammalian host defense systems. TR is considered an attractive target for the development of novel anti-parasitic agents as it is essential for parasite survival but has no close homologue in humans. We report here the identification of spiro-containing derivatives as inhibitors of TR from Trypanosoma brucei (TbTR), the parasite responsible for Human African Trypanosomiasis. The hit series, identified by high throughput screening, was shown to bind TbTR reversibly and to compete with the trypanothione (TS2) substrate. The prototype compound 1 from this series was also found to impede the growth of Trypanosoma brucei parasites in vitro. The X-ray crystal structure of TbTR in complex with compound 1 solved at 1.98 Å allowed the identification of the hydrophobic pocket where the inhibitor binds, placed close to the catalytic histidine (His 461') and lined by Trp21, Val53, Ile106, Tyr110 and Met113. This new inhibitor is specific for TbTR and no activity was detected against the structurally similar human glutathione reductase (hGR). The central spiro scaffold is known to be suitable for brain active compounds in humans thus representing an attractive starting point for the future treatment of the central nervous system stage of T. brucei infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0008339DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7269337PMC
May 2020

Molecular basis of USP7 inhibition by selective small-molecule inhibitors.

Nature 2017 10 18;550(7677):481-486. Epub 2017 Oct 18.

Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Francis Crick Avenue, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK.

Ubiquitination controls the stability of most cellular proteins, and its deregulation contributes to human diseases including cancer. Deubiquitinases remove ubiquitin from proteins, and their inhibition can induce the degradation of selected proteins, potentially including otherwise 'undruggable' targets. For example, the inhibition of ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) results in the degradation of the oncogenic E3 ligase MDM2, and leads to re-activation of the tumour suppressor p53 in various cancers. Here we report that two compounds, FT671 and FT827, inhibit USP7 with high affinity and specificity in vitro and within human cells. Co-crystal structures reveal that both compounds target a dynamic pocket near the catalytic centre of the auto-inhibited apo form of USP7, which differs from other USP deubiquitinases. Consistent with USP7 target engagement in cells, FT671 destabilizes USP7 substrates including MDM2, increases levels of p53, and results in the transcription of p53 target genes, induction of the tumour suppressor p21, and inhibition of tumour growth in mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature24451DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6029662PMC
October 2017

Development of (4-Cyanophenyl)glycine Derivatives as Reversible Inhibitors of Lysine Specific Demethylase 1.

J Med Chem 2017 10 21;60(19):7984-7999. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Drug Discovery Unit, Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, University of Manchester , Wilmslow Road, Manchester, M20 4BX, U.K.

Inhibition of lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) has been shown to induce the differentiation of leukemia stem cells in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Irreversible inhibitors developed from the nonspecific inhibitor tranylcypromine have entered clinical trials; however, the development of effective reversible inhibitors has proved more challenging. Herein, we describe our efforts to identify reversible inhibitors of LSD1 from a high throughput screen and subsequent in silico modeling approaches. From a single hit (12) validated by biochemical and biophysical assays, we describe our efforts to develop acyclic scaffold-hops from GSK-690 (1). A further scaffold modification to a (4-cyanophenyl)glycinamide (e.g., 29a) led to the development of compound 32, with a K value of 32 nM and an EC value of 0.67 μM in a surrogate cellular biomarker assay. Moreover, this derivative does not display the same level of hERG liability as observed with 1 and represents a promising lead for further development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b00462DOI Listing
October 2017

NMS-P937, an orally available, specific small-molecule polo-like kinase 1 inhibitor with antitumor activity in solid and hematologic malignancies.

Mol Cancer Ther 2012 Apr 7;11(4):1006-16. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl, Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is a serine/threonine protein kinase considered to be the master player of cell-cycle regulation during mitosis. It is indeed involved in centrosome maturation, bipolar spindle formation, chromosome separation, and cytokinesis. PLK1 is overexpressed in a variety of human tumors and its overexpression often correlates with poor prognosis. Although five different PLKs are described in humans, depletion or inhibition of kinase activity of PLK1 is sufficient to induce cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in cancer cell lines and in xenograft tumor models. NMS-P937 is a novel, orally available PLK1-specific inhibitor. The compound shows high potency in proliferation assays having low nanomolar activity on a large number of cell lines, both from solid and hematologic tumors. NMS-P937 potently causes a mitotic cell-cycle arrest followed by apoptosis in cancer cell lines and inhibits xenograft tumor growth with clear PLK1-related mechanism of action at well-tolerated doses in mice after oral administration. In addition, NMS-P937 shows potential for combination in clinical settings with approved cytotoxic drugs, causing tumor regression in HT29 human colon adenocarcinoma xenografts upon combination with irinotecan and prolonged survival of animals in a disseminated model of acute myelogenous leukemia in combination with cytarabine. NMS-P937, with its favorable pharmacologic parameters, good oral bioavailability in rodent and nonrodent species, and proven antitumor activity in different preclinical models using a variety of dosing regimens, potentially provides a high degree of flexibility in dosing schedules and warrants investigation in clinical settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0765DOI Listing
April 2012

Cdc7 kinase inhibitors: 5-heteroaryl-3-carboxamido-2-aryl pyrroles as potential antitumor agents. 1. Lead finding.

J Med Chem 2010 Oct;53(20):7296-315

Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl, Business Unit Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, MI, Italy.

Cdc7 serine/threonine kinase is a key regulator of DNA synthesis in eukaryotic organisms. Cdc7 inhibition through siRNA or prototype small molecules causes p53 independent apoptosis in tumor cells while reversibly arresting cell cycle progression in primary fibroblasts. This implies that Cdc7 kinase could be considered a potential target for anticancer therapy. We previously reported that pyrrolopyridinones (e.g., 1) are potent and selective inhibitors of Cdc7 kinase, with good cellular potency and in vitro ADME properties but with suboptimal pharmacokinetic profiles. Here we report on a new chemical class of 5-heteroaryl-3-carboxamido-2-substituted pyrroles (1A) that offers advantages of chemistry diversification and synthetic simplification. This work led to the identification of compound 18, with biochemical data and ADME profile similar to those of compound 1 but characterized by superior efficacy in an in vivo model. Derivative 18 represents a new lead compound worthy of further investigation toward the ultimate goal of identifying a clinical candidate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm100504dDOI Listing
October 2010

Thieno[3,2-c]pyrazoles: a novel class of Aurora inhibitors with favorable antitumor activity.

Bioorg Med Chem 2010 Oct 25;18(19):7113-20. Epub 2010 Jul 25.

Nerviano Medical Sciences-Oncology, via Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

A novel series of 3-amino-1H-thieno[3,2-c]pyrazole derivatives demonstrating high potency in inhibiting Aurora kinases was developed. Here we describe the synthesis and a preliminary structure-activity relationship, which led to the discovery of a representative compound (38), which showed low nanomolar inhibitory activity in the anti-proliferation assay and was able to block the cell cycle in HCT-116 cell line. This compound demonstrated favorable pharmacokinetic properties and good efficacy in the HL-60 xenograft tumor model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2010.07.048DOI Listing
October 2010

PHA-739358, a potent inhibitor of Aurora kinases with a selective target inhibition profile relevant to cancer.

Mol Cancer Ther 2007 Dec;6(12 Pt 1):3158-68

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l.-Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

PHA-739358 is a small-molecule 3-aminopyrazole derivative with strong activity against Aurora kinases and cross-reactivities with some receptor tyrosine kinases relevant for cancer. PHA-739358 inhibits all Aurora kinase family members and shows a dominant Aurora B kinase inhibition-related cellular phenotype and mechanism of action in cells in vitro and in vivo. p53 status-dependent endoreduplication is observed upon treatment of cells with PHA-739358, and phosphorylation of histone H3 in Ser(10) is inhibited. The compound has significant antitumor activity in different xenografts and spontaneous and transgenic animal tumor models and shows a favorable pharmacokinetic and safety profile. In vivo target modulation is observed as assessed by the inhibition of the phosphorylation of histone H3, which has been validated preclinically as a candidate biomarker for the clinical phase. Pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics modeling was used to define drug potency and to support the prediction of active clinical doses and schedules. We conclude that PHA-739358, which is currently tested in clinical trials, has great therapeutic potential in anticancer therapy in a wide range of cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-07-0444DOI Listing
December 2007