Because of their great structural diversity and multitude of chemical properties, N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) have been utilized in a variety of capacities. Most recently, NHCs have been utilized as carrier molecules for many transition metals in medicinal chemistry. Specifically, Ag(I)-NHCs have been investigated as potent antibacterial agents and chemotherapeutics and have shown great efficacy in both in vitro
and in vivo
studies. Ag(I)-NHC compounds have been shown to be effective against a wide range of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains. Many compounds have also shown great efficacy as antitumor agents demonstrating comparable or better antitumor activity than standard chemotherapeutics such as cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil. While these compounds have shown great promise, clinical use has remained an unattained goal. Current research has been focused upon synthesis of novel Ag(I)-NHC compounds and further investigations of their antibacterial and antitumor activity. This review will focus on recent advances of Ag(I)-NHCs in medicinal applications.
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