Potential clinical applications of matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors and their future prospects

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Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are endopeptidases that are involved in extracellular matrix degradation. They are also implicated in a number of abnormal bioprocesses, such as tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis. Therefore, controlling MMP activities has generated considerable interest as a possible therapeutic target. The tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are the major naturally occurring proteins that specifically inhibit MMPs and assist in maintaining the balance between extracellular matrix destruction and formation. However, TIMPs are probably not suitable for pharmacological applications due to their short half-livesin vivo. During the last few decades, synthetic MMP inhibitors (MMPIs) have undergone rapid clinical development in attempts to control MMP enzymatic activities in abnormal bioprocesses. Although studies with these agents have met with limited clinical success, the field of MMPIs is still expanding, and generation of highly effective and selective MMPIs might be a promising direction of this research area.

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