The development of more effective anticancer drugs — compounds that are toxic to cancer cells but nontoxic to healthy cells — is an area of ongoing interest in medicinal chemistry
A collaborative research effort led by Richard Keene, Kirsten Heimann, James Cook University, and Grant Collins, University of New South Wales, has revealed that inert dinuclear ruthenium complexes could meet these objectives. By using a combination of chemical and biological techniques such as flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, the Australian team has shown that particular ruthenium complexes are readily taken up by cancer cells but not by healthy cells, that they accumulate in the mitochondria, and that they consequently kill the cancer cells by apoptosis — a programmed cell death process.
- Mechanism of Cytotoxicity and Cellular Uptake of Lipophilic Inert Dinuclear Polypyridylruthenium(II) Complexes
M. J. Pisani, P. D. Fromm, Y. Mulyana, R. J. Clarke, H. Körner, K. Heimann, J. G. Collins, F. R. Keene,
ChemMedChem 2011, 6(05).