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04 Oct 2011

Screening of the Sigma-Aldrich Library of Pharmacologically Active Compounds (LOPAC) against cultured Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness, resulted in the identification of a number of compounds with selective antiproliferative activity over mammalian cells. These included (+)-(1R,2R)-U50488, a weak opioid agonist with an EC(50) value of 59 nM as determined in our T. brucei in vitro assay reported previously. This paper describes the modification of key structural elements of U50488 to investigate structure-activity relationships (SAR) and to optimise the antiproliferative activity and pharmacokinetic properties of this compound.