Metal-based drugs

Sci Prog. 2014;97(Pt 1):1-19. doi: 10.3184/003685014X13898980185076.


Metals have been considered for millennia to have medicinal values. With the advent of modern medicine, many metal-based drugs have proven to be highly effective in the clinic. Many different metal ions have shown activity against a range of diseases. The unique electronic structure of transition metals offers great versatility, not always seen in organic drugs, in terms of the ability to tune the properties of a given molecule. This review gives a brief overview of the most established therapeutic metals, and their more common applications, such as platinum-based anticancer drugs. New developments within the field of metallodrugs and novel strategies being employed to improve methods of delivery, are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biological Transport
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Organometallic Compounds / chemical synthesis
  • Organometallic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Organometallic Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / chemical synthesis
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / chemistry
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Photochemotherapy
  • Photosensitizing Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Photosensitizing Agents / chemistry
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Platinum / chemistry
  • Platinum / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Platinum