1,5-Disubstituted tetrazoles as PD-1/PD-L1 antagonists

Robin van der Straat, Rosalie Draijer, Ewa Surmiak, Roberto Butera, Lennart Land, Katarzyna Magiera-Mularz, Bogdan Musielak, Jacek Plewka, Tad A. Holak, Alexander Dömling*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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The progress in cancer survival and treatment has witnessed a remarkable transformation through the innovative approach of targeting the inhibitory immune checkpoint protein PD-1/PD-L1 complex by mAbs, e.g. pembrolizumab (Keytruda). While generating 17.2 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2021, the true significance of these developments lies in their ability to enhance cancer patient outcomes. Despite the proven efficacy of mAbs in inhibiting the PD-1/PD-L1 signaling pathways, they face significant challenges, including limited response rates, high production costs, missing oral bioavailability, and extended half-lives that can lead to immune-related adverse effects. A promising alternative approach involves the use of small molecules acting as PD-1/PD-L1 antagonists to stimulate PD-L1 dimerization. However, the precise mechanisms of action of these molecules remain partially understood, posing challenges to their development. In this context, our research focuses on the creation of a novel scaffold based on the Ugi tetrazole four-component reaction (UT-4CR) to develop low-molecular-weight inhibitors of PD-L1. Employing structure-based methods, we synthesized a library of small compounds using biphenyl vinyl isocyanide, leading to the discovery of a structure-activity relationship among 1,5-disubstituted tetrazole-based inhibitors. Supported by a cocrystal structure with PD-L1, these inhibitors underwent biophysical testing, including HTRF and protein NMR experiments, resulting in the identification of potent candidates with sub-micromolar PD-L1 affinities. This finding opens opportunities to the further development of a new class of PD-L1 antagonists, holding promise for improved cancer immunotherapy strategies.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1210-1215
Aantal pagina's6
TijdschriftRSC Medicinal Chemistry
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
Vroegere onlinedatum21-feb.-2024
StatusPublished - 2024

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