This review will highlight recent advances in ligand design for innovative applications in medicinal inorganic chemistry. Ligands that effectively bind metal ions and also include specific features to enhance targeting, reporting, and overall efficacy are driving innovation in areas of disease diagnosis and therapy. Increasing the potency of therapeutic compounds, while limiting side-effects, is a common goal in medicinal chemistry. In an effort to achieve this goal, compounds are being developed that either target a disease site, or are activated by a disease specific biological process. Metal complexes containing targeting functions and/or bioactive ligands, as well as agents that are activated by specific enzymes, or changes in pH and pO2, provide new avenues for drug development. Radiodiagnostic compounds, magnetic resonance imaging agents, and optical probes containing transition metals offer versatility unavailable to organic imaging agents. In certain cases, dual modality agents have been developed, and will be highlighted. Finally, we will discuss targeted metal binding compounds for treatment of metal overload disorders, and the recent application to neurodegenerative disease.
Keywords: Medicinal inorganic chemistry, ligand design, multifunctional, diagnostic, therapeutic, dual modality imaging, metal sequestration, specific biological process, Radiodiagnostic compounds, targeted metal binding compounds, enzymatic transformations, metal ion, multifunctional ligand design, antiparasitic agents
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