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Peptides. 2006 Apr;27(4):921-30. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Melanocortin peptide therapeutics: historical milestones, clinical studies and commercialization.

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Departments of Cellular Biology and Anatomy (MEH) and Medicine (RTD), College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


The melanocortins (MCs) are a family of multifunctional peptidergic hormones. Several superpotent, prolonged acting, enzymatically resistant, MC analogs have been designed and synthesized to help clarify the nature and role of MCs and their receptors (MCRs) in physiological functions. Two of these analogs, a linear peptide, melanotan I, and a cyclic truncated peptide, melanotan II (MTI and MTII, respectively) have been patented and tested clinically for studies on tanning of the skin (MTI) and for diagnosis and treatment of male erectile dysfunction (MTII). A new MTII analog, PT-141 (Palatin Technologies) has initial phase I/II trials and is scheduled to enter pivotal stage III clinical trials leading to commercialization. MTI may provide a therapeutic tan with the potential to lower the risk of skin cancer. PT-141 may improve sexual functionality in both males and females.

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