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      Metal complexes in cancer therapy – an update from drug design perspective

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          Abstract

          In the past, metal-based compounds were widely used in the treatment of disease conditions, but the lack of clear distinction between the therapeutic and toxic doses was a major challenge. With the discovery of cisplatin by Barnett Rosenberg in 1960, a milestone in the history of metal-based compounds used in the treatment of cancers was witnessed. This forms the foundation for the modern era of the metal-based anticancer drugs. Platinum drugs, such as cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin, are the mainstay of the metal-based compounds in the treatment of cancer, but the delay in the therapeutic accomplishment of other metal-based compounds hampered the progress of research in this field. Recently, however, there has been an upsurge of activities relying on the structural information, aimed at improving and developing other forms of metal-based compounds and nonclassical platinum complexes whose mechanism of action is distinct from known drugs such as cisplatin. In line with this, many more metal-based compounds have been synthesized by redesigning the existing chemical structure through ligand substitution or building the entire new compound with enhanced safety and cytotoxic profile. However, because of increased emphasis on the clinical relevance of metal-based complexes, a few of these drugs are currently on clinical trial and many more are awaiting ethical approval to join the trial. In this review, we seek to give an overview of previous reviews on the cytotoxic effect of metal-based complexes while focusing more on newly designed metal-based complexes and their cytotoxic effect on the cancer cell lines, as well as on new approach to metal-based drug design and molecular target in cancer therapy. We are optimistic that the concept of selective targeting remains the hope of the future in developing therapeutics that would selectively target cancer cells and leave healthy cells unharmed.

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          New trends for metal complexes with anticancer activity.

          Medicinal inorganic chemistry can exploit the unique properties of metal ions for the design of new drugs. This has, for instance, led to the clinical application of chemotherapeutic agents for cancer treatment, such as cisplatin. The use of cisplatin is, however, severely limited by its toxic side-effects. This has spurred chemists to employ different strategies in the development of new metal-based anticancer agents with different mechanisms of action. Recent trends in the field are discussed in this review. These include the more selective delivery and/or activation of cisplatin-related prodrugs and the discovery of new non-covalent interactions with the classical target, DNA. The use of the metal as scaffold rather than reactive centre and the departure from the cisplatin paradigm of activity towards a more targeted, cancer cell-specific approach, a major trend, are discussed as well. All this, together with the observation that some of the new drugs are organometallic complexes, illustrates that exciting times lie ahead for those interested in 'metals in medicine'.
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            Elevated copper and oxidative stress in cancer cells as a target for cancer treatment.

            As we gain a better understanding of the factors affecting cancer etiology, we can design improved treatment strategies. Over the past three to four decades, there have been numerous successful efforts in recognizing important cellular proteins essential in cancer growth and therefore these proteins have been targeted for cancer treatment. However, studies have shown that targeting one or two proteins in the complex cancer cascade may not be sufficient in controlling and/or inhibiting cancer growth. Therefore, there is a need to examine features which are potentially involved in multiple facets of cancer development. In this review we discuss the targeting of the elevated copper (both in serum and tumor) and oxidative stress levels in cancer with the aid of a copper chelator d-penicillamine (d-pen) for potential cancer treatment. Numerous studies in the literature have reported that both the serum and tumor copper levels are elevated in a variety of malignancies, including both solid tumor and blood cancer. Further, the elevated copper levels have been shown to be directly correlated to cancer progression. Enhanced levels of intrinsic oxidative stress has been shown in variety of tumors, possibly due to the combination of factors such as elevated active metabolism, mitochondrial mutation, cytokines, and inflammation. The cancer cells under sustained ROS stress tend to heavily utilize adaptation mechanisms and may exhaust cellular ROS-buffering capacity. Therefore, the elevated copper levels and increased oxidative stress in cancer cells provide for a prospect of selective cancer treatment.
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              Natural products and drug discovery. Can thousands of years of ancient medical knowledge lead us to new and powerful drug combinations in the fight against cancer and dementia?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2017
                03 March 2017
                : 11
                : 599-616
                Affiliations
                Molecular Modelling and Drug Design Research Group, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, Durban, South Africa
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Mahmoud E Soliman, Molecular Modelling and Drug Design Research Group, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, Durban 4000, South Africa, Tel +27 31 260 7413, Fax +27 31 260 779, Email soliman@ 123456ukzn.ac.za
                Article
                dddt-11-599
                10.2147/DDDT.S119488
                5344412
                © 2017 Ndagi et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Review

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine

                selective target, apoptosis, metal complexes, platinum, dna, cancer

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