Lead Identification to Clinical Candidate Selection: Drugs for Chagas Disease. Chagas disease affects 8 million people worldwide and remains a main cause of death due to heart failure in Latin America. The number of cases in the United States is now estimated to be 300,000, but there are currently no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs available for patients with Chagas disease. To fill this gap, we have established a public-private partnership between the University of California,San Francisco and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) with the goal of delivering clinical candidates to treat Chagas disease. The discovery phase, based on the screening of more than 160,000 compounds from the GNF Academic Collaboration Library, led to the identification of new anti-Chagas scaffolds. Part of the screening campaign used and compared two screening methods, including a colorimetric-based assay using Trypanosoma cruzi expressing β-galactosidase and an image-based, high-content screening (HCS) assay using the CA-I/72 strain of T. cruzi. Comparing molecules tested in both assays, we found that ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitors had greater potency in the colorimetric assay than in the HCS assay. Both assays were used to inform structure-activity relationships for antiparasitic efficacy and pharmacokinetics. A new anti-T. cruzi scaffold derived from xanthine was identified, and we describe its development as lead series.
GlobalResearch at UCSF presents the broad scope of health research that is being conducted by UCSF researchers worldwide