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Platinum metal-based anticancer and antibacterial drugs

Technology Overview:
Researchers at Leiden University have developed novel palladium, platinum, and gold compounds that may be used as anticancer or antibacterial agents. A family of related ligands can be used in the formulation of the compounds, to tune solubility and activity. The compounds are very stable due to the tetradentate nature of the ligands, coupled with a tetracoordinated (d8) metal center.

While these novel compounds are both simple and cheap to synthesize, they could provide an interesting new alternative for platinum-based anticancer drugs (platinum based drugs such as cisplatin, oxaliplatin and carboplatin already have FDA-approval and are used widely). These new compounds are all the more interesting, because micromolar to nanomolar activities have been observed on cancer cell lines that are resistant to cisplatin.

However the activities are not limited to cancer therapy; applications as an antibacterial agent are also possible. The exact activities of the different compounds depend on the entire compound, while the mode of action depends critically on the nature of the metal.

Potential applications:

  • Cancer therapy
  • Antibacterial agent

State of development:
The compounds have been synthesized and characterized. In vitro and in vivo (mouse model) experiments have been conducted that have confirmed the high potential of the compounds; in vitro experiments have revealed that the cytotoxicity of some derivatives on human cancer cell lines are among the highest ever reported in the literature, while preliminary in vivo experiments in a mouse model show a decrease in tumor size.

The researchers are looking for partners to take this invention to the next stage, which would be doing experiments to confirm the biological target, mode of action, and refine efficacy in vivo.

Luris reference number


Patent status

A patent application for the platinum, palladium, and gold compounds has been filed by Leiden University.

Further information

Sara Cigna Knowledge Broker +31-71-527 3837