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Current Protein & Peptide Science


ISSN (Print): 1389-2037
ISSN (Online): 1875-5550

Branched Peptides as Therapeutics

Author(s): Alessandro Pini, Chiara Falciani and Luisa Bracci

Volume 9, Issue 5, 2008

Page: [468 - 477] Pages: 10

DOI: 10.2174/138920308785915227

Price: $65


The concept of ‘magic bullet’, initially ascribed to immunoglobulins by Paul Ehrlich at the beginning of the 20th century and strengthened by the hybridoma technology of Kohler and Milstein in the mid 70s, can nowadays be attributed to different target-specific molecules, such as peptides. This attribution is increasingly valid in light of the explosion of new technologies for peptide library construction and screening, not to mention improvements in peptide synthesis and conjugation and in-vivo peptide stability, which make peptide molecules specific bullets for targeting pathological markers and pathogens. Today, hundreds of peptides are being developed and dozens are in clinical trials for a variety of diseases, demonstrating that the general reluctance towards peptide drugs that existed a decade ago has now been overcome. In spite of this progress, the development of new peptide drugs has largely been limited by their short half-life. Branched peptides such as Multiple Antigen Peptides (MAPs) were invented in the 80s by Tam [Tam, J.P., (1998) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 85, 5409] and have been extensively tested to reproduce single epitopes to stimulate the immune system for new vaccine discovery. In our lab we discovered that MAP molecules acquire strong resistance to proteases and peptidases. This resistance renders MAPs very stable and thus suitable for drug development. Here we report our experience with several MAP molecules in different biotechnological applications ranging from antimicrobial and anti toxin peptides to peptides for tumor targeting.

Keywords: Peptide, branched peptides, MAP, dendrimers, peptide-based drugs, antibody mimetic

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