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Prog Med Chem. 2002;40:23-62.

Discovery of CEP-1347/KT-7515, an inhibitor of the JNK/SAPK pathway for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

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Department of Neurobiology, Cephalon Inc., 145 Brandywine Parkway, West Chester, PA 19380, USA.


Apoptosis has been proposed as a mechanism of cell death in Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases and the occurrence of apoptosis in these disorders suggests a common mechanism. Events such as oxidative stress, calcium toxicity, mitochondria defects, excitatory toxicity, and deficiency of survival factors are all postulated to play varying roles in the pathogenesis of the diseases. However, the transcription factor c-jun may play a role in the pathology and cell death processes that occur in Alzheimer's disease. Parkinson's disease (PD) is also a progressive disorder involving the specific degeneration and death of dopamine neurons in the nigrostriatal pathway. In Parkinson's disease, dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra are hypothesized to undergo cell death by apoptotic processes. The commonality of biochemical events and pathways leading to cell death in these diseases continues to be an area under intense investigation. The current therapy for PD and AD remains targeting replacement of lost transmitter, but the ultimate objective in neurodegenerative therapy is the functional restoration and/or cessation of progression of neuronal loss. This chapter will describe a novel approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases through the development of kinase inhibitors that block the active cell death process at an early transcriptional independent step in the stress activated kinase cascade. In particular, preclinical data will be presented on the c-Jun Amino Kinase pathway inhibitor, CEP-1347/KT-7515, with respect to it's properties that make it a desirable clinical candidate for treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases.

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