Metallodrug development

Our goal is to investigate the potential biological role of new coordination compounds covering at least six main topics:

1.     NO/HNO donors, where ruthenium and iron compounds are prepared and investigated its ability to release these small active molecules, whose broad potential actions as anti-parasitic (Chagas, Schistosoma), anti-angiogenic, anti-hypertensive, stomach and neural protector agents have been explored in collaboration.

Our lab has synthesized many metallonitrosyl compounds, where some of them have shown great photoreactivity, including in the visible, along with DNA interaction/damage, fast reaction with thiols and production of HNO. A series of exciting biological activities have been unraveled with these compounds opening a broad range of applications.

2.     CO donors, where ruthenium compounds have been explored as photoreleasers and anti-microbial activity investigated.

Our lab has prepared ruthenium-based compounds as CO releasers, which were photodeliver CO using visible or mild UV light. These compounds showed biological activities (e.g. anti-bacterial) that deserve further investigations .

3.     Non-NO based metallocompounds as potential mimics of stimulators of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), where cardiovascular studies are carried out in collaboration.

By using a strategy brought to attention by Megger’s lab, we designed potential analogues of stimulators of soluble guanylate cyclase, aiming to easily reach a structural octahedral diversity. Our results indicated promising candidates with cardiovascular activity, including increase in the levels of cGMP.

4.     Anti-tuberculosis agents based on iron and ruthenium compounds, mainly exploring isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethionamide chemistry aiming to create novel agents.

Our lab has been involved in designing redox-mediated strategies to tackle resistance, particularly, against tuberculosis, where the iron metal complex IQG-607 has featured. More recently, we also designed a novel photoactivated route for isoniazid with promising biological data.

5.     Non-labile phototherapeutic agents, where bipyridine and terpyridinie-based ruthenium complexes are designed to photogenerate ROS and interact with biological targets (e.g. DNA, biotin receptors), aiming to provide new anti-bacterial and anti-cancer compounds. 

In one of our studies, we prepared a ruthenium complex with dual activity, maintaining great ROS photogeneration in visible range along with strong DNA binding, which offered great opportunities for pharmacological studies.

6.     Nanomaterial structures as friendly templates for metallocompound anchorage and controlled drug (photo)release. 

Recently, we prepared a silica nanoparticle highly charged with sodium nitroprusside (SNP), which was shown to be as good as that free drug but with much lower cytotoxicity likely due to its ability to reduce cyanide release. This new platform has opened exciting opportunities to explore the biochemistry of this well-known nitric oxide donor, altering its biodisponibility.

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