Evaluation of transporters in drug development: Current status and contemporary issues

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Abstract

Transporters govern the access of molecules to cells or their exit from cells, thereby controlling the overall distribution of drugs to their intracellular site of action. Clinically relevant drug-drug interactions mediated by transporters are of increasing interest in drug development. Drug transporters, acting alone or in concert with drug metabolizing enzymes, can play an important role in modulating drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, thus affecting the pharmacokinetics and/or pharmacodynamics of a drug. The drug interaction guidance documents from regulatory agencies include various decision criteria that may be used to predict the need for in vivo assessment of transporter-mediated drug-drug interactions. Regulatory science research continues to assess the prediction performances of various criteria as well as to examine the strength and limitations of each prediction criterion to foster discussions related to harmonized decision criteria that may be used to facilitate global drug development. This review discusses the role of transporters in drug development with a focus on methodologies in assessing transporter-mediated drug-drug interactions, challenges in both in vitro and in vivo assessments of transporters, and emerging transporter research areas including biomarkers, assessment of tissue concentrations, and effect of diseases on transporters.

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