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Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2007 Jan;7(1):55-73.

Searching for the magic bullet: anticancer platinum drugs which can be accumulated or activated in the tumor tissue.

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Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin are anticancer drugs, which are efficiently used in the clinics all over the world. Besides a remarkable therapeutic efficacy in a series of solid tumors and outstanding activity of cisplatin against testicular germ-cell cancer, the platinum-based therapy is in part accompanied by a set of severe toxic side-effects. The design of platinum complexes being equipped with an exclusive selectivity for the tumoral tissue and exhibiting a lack of systemic toxicity ('magic bullets') is the great hope in the fight against cancer and also a motor within the expanding field of bioinorganic chemistry. In this review article, two promising strategies, namely accumulation and activation of tumor inhibiting platinum complexes specifically at the tumor site is presented, demonstrating a stepwise approach towards the 'magic bullet' concept propagated by Paul Ehrlich.

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