Design of polyamine-based therapeutic agents: New targets and new directions

M. D.Thulani Senanayake, Hemali Amunugama, Tracey D. Boncher, Robert A. Casero, Patrick M. Woster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Enzymes in the biosynthetic and catabolic polyamine pathway have long been considered targets for drug development, and early drug discovery efforts in the polyamine area focused on the design and development of specific inhibitors of the biosynthetic pathway, or polyamine analogues that specifically bind DNA. More recently, it has become clear that the natural polyamines are involved in numerous known and unknown cellular processes, and disruption of polyamine functions at their effector sites can potentially produce beneficial therapeutic effects. As new targets for polyamine drug discovery continue to evolve, the rational design of polyamine analogues will result in more structurally diverse agents. In addition, the physical linkage of polyamine-like structures to putative drug molecules can have beneficial effects resulting from increases in DNA affinity and selective cellular uptake. The present chapter will summarize recent advances in the development of alkylpolyamine analogues as antitumour agents, and describe subsequent advances that have resulted from incorporating polyamine character into more diverse drug molecules. Specifically, new polyamine analogues, and the role of polyamine fragments in the design of antiparasitic agents, antitumour metal complexes, histone deacetylase inhibitors and lysine-specific demethylase 1 inhibitors, will be described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-94
Number of pages18
JournalEssays in Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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