Discovery of benzamides and triarylimidazoles active against Plasmodium falciparum via haemozoin inhibition : high throughput screening, synthesis and structure-activity relationships

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

New antimalarials are desperately needed to overcome growing P. falciparum resistance to the current drugs. Successful quinoline-based drugs target haemozoin formation causing a cytotoxic accumulation of free haem (Fe(III)PPIX) in the parasite, a target which remains promising for future treatments. Much research has been undertaken on the quinoline antimalarials, which has led to several hypotheses of haemozoin inhibition and drug accumulation mechanisms, however, relatively few studies have been carried out for haemozoin antimalarials with alternate chemotypes. High throughput screening (HTS) can be used to identify novel scaffolds that inhibit β-haematin (βH - synthetic haemozoin) formation and which have favourable P. falciparum activities. In this project, HTS has been carried out on 43,520 small, organic, drug-like compounds as part of a larger screen of 144,330 Vanderbilt University Institute of Chemical Biology (VU) chemical library compounds and 530 were found to be good inhibitors of βH relative to the chloroquine (CQ) and amodiaquine (AQ) controls. A further 171 compounds were found to inhibit parasite growth, showing improved hit rates from previous HTS efforts. Two scaffolds (A=benzamides and B=triarylimidazoles) were selected for further analysis, whereupon analogues were synthesised.

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