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Development of “smart” amplifiers of reactive oxygen species specific to aberrant polymorphonuclear neutrophils for treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, cancer and myeloablation.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NeutroCure (Development of “smart” amplifiers of reactive oxygen species specific to aberrant polymorphonuclear neutrophils for treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, cancer and myeloablation.)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

NeutroCure goal is to develop improved drugs for an effective immune system. An over-active immune system may lead to chronic inflammation and the cytokine storm phenomenon that can be observed during infection. Our hypothesis is that resolution of inflammation is dependent on the timely production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the first inflammatory cell on the scene, the neutrophil, to maximize clearance of pro-inflammatory debris. We know that if ROS production is insufficient, for example when the enzyme NOX2 is absent or mutant, then inflammation persists. Central to our project is the development of new technology to resolve inflammation - novel ROS-amplifiers that are designed as single- and multiple-trigger-dependent prodrugs targeting different organelles within cells. As triggers we use elevated ROS, neutrophil elastase activity and eventually nitric oxide (NO) as well as their combinations. Two classes of prodrugs are being designed, synthesized, formulated and evaluated during the project. The first class of these acts independently of NOX2 and is based on N-alkylaminoferrocene (NAAF) and the second one is NOX2-dependent.
Within the first reporting period (01.01 – 31.12.2020) we have synthesized and evaluated first prototypes of unspecific NOX2-dependent and independent ROS amplifiers. We optimized their synthesis. Based on these data, we produced first prototypes of neutrophil elastase- and ROS-dependent ROS amplifiers. Furthermore, we set-up assays to assess ROS-production, NET formation and killing of cancer cells mediated by neutrophils.
NeutroCure (cooperation of FAU, LNMU and UKER) has developed ER-specific ROS-amplifier targeting ROS-rich cells, e.g. cancer cells. The functionality of this prodrug was confirmed in cell free settings, in cells and in vivo. It can potentially find applications in cancer treatment. Reference: doi.org/10.1002/anie.202100054.
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