Affiliation: University of Patras, Department of Chemistry, GR-26504, Patras, Greece.
Peptides regulate most physiological processes, mainly by binding to specific receptors located on the cell surface and inducing a series of signals, neurotransmissions or the release of growth factors. There has been a rapid expansion in the use of peptides as therapeutic agents after the 1960s, but a series of unfortunate side effects present in Phase I and II clinical studies combined with their low bioavailability, led to the introduction of the idea of peptidomimetics as alternative compounds that mimic the biological activity of peptides, while offering the advantages of increased bioavailability, biostability, bioefficiency, and bioselectivity. Since then new peptides with promising in vitro results, involving the monoclonal antibody expansion, as well as the newly launched research field for novel formulations for increasing peptides bioavailability, redirected the interest on the peptide market. In this report we will highlight three areas where the use of peptides has shown promising results, with products that are either currently used as drugs or included into Phase III clinical studies.