Protein kinases (PKs), as members of an important target class in current pharmaceutical research, have been mostly exploited so far in therapeutic areas such as oncology and inflammation. However, basic research on some PKs as key components of molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and neuroprotection may translate into new medicines for CNS diseases in the next few years. This review is an account of recent patents dealing with kinase inhibitors primarily designed for CNS indications. CNS-directed patents on kinase modulators published after 2008 were surveyed using SciFinder(®) and public patent search engines. Some PK targets, such as GSK-3β, CDK5, ROCK and p38α MAPK, continue to attract interest even though a clinical proof-of-concept is yet to be attained in a CNS setting. Less established PKs such as LRRK2, MLK, PAK and DAPK-1 hold promise as valuable targets of the future.
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