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Special Issue "Target-Specific Delivery of Gold and Ruthenium Complexes to Cancer Cells: Where Are We?"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Medicinal Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tânia S. Morais
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centro de Química Estrutural, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: organometallic/inorganic chemistry; peptide chemistry; metal–peptide conjugates; interaction studies with biomolecules; anticancer drug design and development; drug delivery; medicinal chemistry
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. João D. G. Correia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Engenharia e Ciências Nucleares and Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, CTN, Estrada Nacional 10 (Km 139,7), 2695-066 Bobadela LRS, Portugal
Interests: molecular imaging; nuclear chemistry; radiopharmaceutical chemistry; theranostics; metallodrugs; peptides; targeted radionuclide therapy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and it is expected that in 20 years, there will be ~26 million new cancer cases. Despite the progress made in the last few years, cancer treatment, mainly focused on radiation therapy and chemotherapy, presents low therapeutic indices and a wide spectrum of severe side-effects, in part due to the little or no selectivity of drugs for cancer cells over nontumoral cells. Therefore, the need for alternative therapeutic options with improved selectivity is critical.

Following the clinical success achieved with platinum complexes, the search for metallodrugs with improved therapeutic properties has been extremely active within the bioinorganic/organometallic chemistry community. Among the large number of metal complexes with considerable anticancer properties, gold and ruthenium complexes are amongst the most promising alternatives. Nevertheless, this topic still remains a challenge to all scientists, especially those involved in the design of innovative metal-based target specific agents.

This Special Issue of Molecules welcomes original research articles, communications, and review articles dealing with major advancements and challenges of metallodrug discovery for cancer treatment. It will focus on design, identification, and evaluation of novel gold and ruthenium anticancer agents, biological targets, and targeting approaches.

Dr. Tânia S. Morais
Prof. Dr. João D. G. Correia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Drug discovery
  • Drug design
  • Anticancer
  • Metallodrugs
  • Ruthenium
  • Gold
  • Targeting
  • Selectivity
  • Biological targets
  • Therapeutic approaches

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Donor Atom Preference of Organoruthenium and Organorhodium Cations on the Interaction with Novel Ambidentate (N,N) and (O,O) Chelating Ligands in Aqueous Solution
Molecules 2021, 26(12), 3586; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123586 - 11 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Two novel, pyridinone-based chelating ligands containing separated (O,O) and (Namino,Nhet) chelating sets (Namino = secondary amine; Nhet = pyrrole N for H(L3) (1-(3-(((1H-pyrrole-2-yl)methyl)amino)propyl)-3-hydroxy-2-methylpyridin-4(1H)-one) or pyridine N for H(L5) (3-hydroxy-2-methyl-1-(3-((pyridin-2-ylmethyl)amino)propyl)pyridin-4(1H)-one)) were synthesized via reduction of the appropriate imines. [...] Read more.
Two novel, pyridinone-based chelating ligands containing separated (O,O) and (Namino,Nhet) chelating sets (Namino = secondary amine; Nhet = pyrrole N for H(L3) (1-(3-(((1H-pyrrole-2-yl)methyl)amino)propyl)-3-hydroxy-2-methylpyridin-4(1H)-one) or pyridine N for H(L5) (3-hydroxy-2-methyl-1-(3-((pyridin-2-ylmethyl)amino)propyl)pyridin-4(1H)-one)) were synthesized via reduction of the appropriate imines. Their proton dissociation processes were explored, and the molecular structures of two synthons were assessed by X-ray crystallography. These ambidentate chelating ligands are intended to develop Co(III)/PGM (PGM = platinum group metal) heterobimetallic multitargeted complexes with anticancer potential. To explore their metal ion binding ability, the interaction with Pd(II), [(η6-p-cym)Ru]2+ and [(η5-Cp*)Rh]2+ (p-cym = 1-methyl-4-isopropylbenzene, Cp* = pentamethyl-cyclopentadienyl anion) cations was studied in aqueous solution with the combined use of pH-potentiometry, NMR and HR ESI-MS. In general, organorhodium was found to form more labile complexes over ruthenium, while complexation of the (N,N) chelating set was slower than the processes of the pyridinone unit with (O,O) coordination. Formation of the organoruthenium complexes starts at lower pH (higher thermodynamic stabilities of the corresponding complexes) than for [(η5-Cp*)Rh]2+ but, due to the higher affinity of [η6-p-cym)Ru]2+ towards hydrolysis, the complexed ligands are capable of competing with hydroxide ion in a lesser extent than for the rhodium systems. As a result, under biologically relevant conditions, the rhodium binding effectivity of the ligands becomes comparable or even slightly higher than their effectivity towards ruthenium. Our results indicate that H(L3) is a less efficient (N,N) chelator for these metal ions than H(L5). Similarly, due to the relative effectivity of the (O,O) and (N,N) chelates at a 1:1 metal-ion-to-ligand ratio, H(L5) coordinates in a (N,N) manner to both cations in the whole pH range studied while, for H(L3), the complexation starts with (O,O) coordination. At a 2:1 metal-ion-to-ligand ratio, H(L3) cannot hinder the intensive hydrolysis of the second metal ion, although a small amount of 2:1 complex with [(η5-Cp*)Rh]2+ can also be detected. Full article
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Article
Enhanced Cytotoxic Effect of Doxorubicin Conjugated to Glutathione-Stabilized Gold Nanoparticles in Canine Osteosarcoma—In Vitro Studies
Molecules 2021, 26(12), 3487; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123487 - 08 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Osteosarcoma (OSA) is the most common malignant bone neoplasia in humans and dogs. In dogs, treatment consists of surgery in combination with chemotherapy (mostly carboplatin and/or doxorubicin (Dox)). Chemotherapy is often rendered ineffective by multidrug resistance. Previous studies have revealed that Dox conjugated [...] Read more.
Osteosarcoma (OSA) is the most common malignant bone neoplasia in humans and dogs. In dogs, treatment consists of surgery in combination with chemotherapy (mostly carboplatin and/or doxorubicin (Dox)). Chemotherapy is often rendered ineffective by multidrug resistance. Previous studies have revealed that Dox conjugated with 4 nm glutathione-stabilized gold nanoparticles (Au-GSH-Dox) enhanced the anti-tumor activity and cytotoxicity of Dox in Dox-resistant feline fibrosarcoma cell lines exhibiting high P-glycoprotein (P-gp) activity. The present study investigated the influence of Au-GSH-Dox on the canine OSA cell line D17 and its relationship with P-gp activity. A human Dox-sensitive OSA cell line, U2OS, served as the negative control. Au-GSH-Dox, compared to free Dox, presented a greater cytotoxic effect on D17 (IC50 values for Au-GSH-Dox and Dox were 7.9 μg/mL and 15.2 μg/mL, respectively) but not on the U2OS cell line. All concentrations of Au-GSH (ranging from 10 to 1000 μg/mL) were non-toxic in both cell lines. Inhibition of the D17 cell line with 100 μM verapamil resulted in an increase in free Dox but not in intracellular Au-GSH-Dox. The results indicate that Au-GSH-Dox may act as an effective drug in canine OSA by bypassing P-gp. Full article
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Review

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Review
Emerging Molecular Receptors for the Specific-Target Delivery of Ruthenium and Gold Complexes into Cancer Cells
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3153; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113153 - 25 May 2021
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Abstract
Cisplatin and derivatives are highly effective in the treatment of a wide range of cancer types; however, these metallodrugs display low selectivity, leading to severe side effects. Additionally, their administration often results in the development of chemoresistance, which ultimately results in therapeutic failure. [...] Read more.
Cisplatin and derivatives are highly effective in the treatment of a wide range of cancer types; however, these metallodrugs display low selectivity, leading to severe side effects. Additionally, their administration often results in the development of chemoresistance, which ultimately results in therapeutic failure. This scenario triggered the study of other transition metals with innovative pharmacological profiles as alternatives to platinum, ruthenium- (e.g., KP1339 and NAMI-A) and gold-based (e.g., Auranofin) complexes being among the most advanced in terms of clinical evaluation. Concerning the importance of improving the in vivo selectivity of metal complexes and the current relevance of ruthenium and gold metals, this review article aims to survey the main research efforts made in the past few years toward the design and biological evaluation of target-specific ruthenium and gold complexes. Herein, we give an overview of the inorganic and organometallic molecules conjugated to different biomolecules for targeting membrane proteins, namely cell adhesion molecules, G-protein coupled receptors, and growth factor receptors. Complexes that recognize the progesterone receptors or other targets involved in metabolic pathways such as glucose transporters are discussed as well. Finally, we describe some complexes aimed at recognizing cell organelles or compartments, mitochondria being the most explored. The few complexes addressing targeted gene therapy are also presented and discussed. Full article
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