Model system identifies kinetic driver of hsp90 inhibitor activity against african trypanosomes and plasmodium falciparum

Kirsten J. Meyer, Emily Caton, Theresa A. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Hsp90 inhibitors, well studied in the laboratory and clinic for antitumor indications, have promising activity against protozoan pathogens, including Trypanosoma brucei which causes African sleeping sickness, and the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. To progress these experimental drugs toward clinical use, we adapted an in vitro dynamic hollow-fiber system and deployed artificial pharmacokinetics to discover the driver of their activity: either concentration or time. The activities of compounds from three major classes of Hsp90 inhibitors in development were evaluated against trypanosomes. In all circumstances, the activities of the tested Hsp90 inhibitors were concentration driven. By optimally deploying the drug to match its kinetic driver, the efficacy of a given dose was improved up to 5-fold, and maximal efficacy was achieved with a significantly lower drug exposure. The superiority of concentration-driven regimens was evident in vitro over several logs of drug exposure and was predictive of efficacy in a mouse model of African trypanosomiasis. In studies with P. falciparum, antimalarial activity was similarly concentration driven. This experimental strategy offers an expedient and versatile translational tool to assess the impact of pharmacokinetics on antiprotozoal activity. Knowing kinetic governance early in drug development provides an additional metric for judging lead compounds and allows the incisive design of animal efficacy studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00056-18
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Hollow-fiber cartridge
  • Hsp90
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Trypanosoma brucei

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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