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Curr Alzheimer Res. 2008 Apr;5(2):121-31.

Memapsin 2 (beta-secretase) inhibitors: drug development.

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Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Memapsin 2 (beta-secretase, BACE 1) processing of beta-amyloid precursor protein is the first step in the pathway leading to the production of amyloid-beta, thus, it is a major target for the development of inhibitor drug for the treatment of Alzheimers's Disease. Although there are distinctive advantages of this protease as a drug target, the development of drug-like memapsin 2 inhibitors has been somewhat slow since the cloning of the protease seven years ago. Here we review the progress of memapsin 2 inhibitor development using crystal structure-based design cycles. Recent progress has evolved the inhibitors into sizes sufficiently small to penetrate cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier yet retain potency for the inhibition of Abeta production in cultured cells and experimental animals. Such progress lends optimism that clinically useful memapsin 2 inhibitors will eventually be developed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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