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Current medicinal chemistry

Organometallic complexes: new tools for chemotherapy.


PMID 20586720

Abstract

The importance of organometallics can be noticed by their presence in all life organisms. The most known natural organometallic molecule is vitamin B12, a porphyrin containing a cobalt atom, useful for several enzymatic transformations. Based on the remarkable properties of this class of compounds, a new area of medicinal research was developed. Gérard Jaouen was the first to introduce the term of "bioorganometallic chemistry" in 1985 although the first organometallic therapeutical was Salvarsan®, discovered by Paul Ehrlich (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908). Bioorganometallic chemistry consists of the synthesis and the study of organometallic complexes, complexes with at least one metal-carbon bond, in a biological and medicinal interest. This field of research was accentuated by the discovery of the ferrocene in 1951 by Pauson and Kealy, confirmed in 1952 by Wilkinson (Nobel Prize in 1973). Today, bioorganometallic chemistry includes 5 main domains: (1) organometallic therapeuticals, (2) toxicology and environment, (3) molecular recognition in aqueous phases, (4) enzymes, proteins and peptides, (5) bioanalysis and pharmaceutical sensors. In this review, we focused on organometallic therapeuticals. The exceptional properties of organometallics are first described and then, an overview on the main organometallic complexes used for drug design is presented. This review gives an idea how organometallics can be used for the rational design of new drugs.

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