ligands&coordination complexes / Alfa Chemistry
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Biomedical Applications

Nearly 5000 years ago, scientists first discovered the use of coordination complexes in biomedical. The accidental discovery of cisplatin stimulated the development of modern pharmaceutical inorganic chemistry, which accelerated the understanding of metal ion coordination and redox properties by inorganic chemists. Natural metal complexes consisting of a central metal atom or ion (especially of the 3D transition metals) are involved in a plenty of biological mechanisms among which photosynthesis, transport of oxygen in blood, coordination of some metabolic processes, pathological states, enzymatic reactions, etc., even though the metallic ions represent only 3% of the body composition. In addition, metal centers, being positively charged, are favored to bind to negatively charged biomolecules; the constituents of proteins and nucleic acids offer excellent ligands for binding to metal ions. Therefore, coordination complexes have good potential for pharmaceutical applications. There have been many successful applications, most notably cisplatin for treatment of cancer, gadolinium complexes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), gold complexes for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and the rise of nuclear medicine, for both therapy and diagnosis. Over the past two decades, several metal-based coordination complexes (based on silver, copper, iron gold, bismuth, gallium, etc.) have been designed and have reached human clinical trials for the treatment of cancer, malaria, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Biomedical Applications

Coordination complexes in biomedical applications

The vast diversity of metals, types of ligands, and geometries makes coordination complexes very useful in the biomedical field, especially in drug delivery and disease treatment. Unlike most organic molecules, which possess only one- or two- dimensional topologies, metal-based coordination complexes can adopt three-dimensional structures available through metal coordination chemistry, the latter offering the possibility to create a wide variety of pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, metal-based coordination complexes, as therapeutic agents, can be functionalized and provide real-time monitoring signals, thus providing important assistance for clinical diagnostic techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Alfa Chemistry discusses the application of coordination complexes in biomedical from the following aspects:

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