Research Topic

Metal Complexes in Medicine: Friend or Foe?

About this Research Topic

Metal ions play a crucial role in proper functioning of living matter, while providing unique electrochemical and spectroscopic properties that cannot be attained by purely organic compounds. Amongst all known metal ions, only 10 are essential for human life, and the remainder are considered toxic. Nevertheless, over 60 metal ions are used nowadays in drug therapies and diagnostic agents, raising concerns regarding potential adverse effects to humans and the environment. While every year hundreds of new metal complexes are presented in scientific literature, and further are selected for clinical trials, we need to bear in mind Amara’s law, stating that "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run."

This Research Topic aims to bring together recent research and investigation on metal–complexes in medicine, discussing potential benefits, but also occupational and environmental risks. The goal is to present challenges in the use of metal complexes in medicine from a medicinal chemistry perspective, discussing the development of new compounds, and recent advances that address the associated risks. We encourage researchers to present innovative metal-complexes, which compete with known technologies and respect the environment, as well as asking the scientific community to discuss potential hazards related to the use of metal complexes in medicine, and how the risks could be avoided.

We welcome researchers from different fields to contribute their articles on recent advances and applications in the field of metal complexes as diagnostic and therapeutic tools in human pathologies, with particular attention to their toxicity and potential occupational and environmental hazards. We encourage researchers working in these fields to submit their latest Original Research, Review, Mini Review, or Perspective articles dealing with themes that include, but are not limited to:

 • Design and synthesis of novel metallodrugs for medical applications such as medical imaging, theragnostics, and as adjuvants
 • Novel metal complexes as anti-inflammatory agents
 • Green chemistry approaches in metal complexes synthesis
 • Investigation of metal ion-related toxicity in the body
 • Interaction of novel metal complexes with biological molecules, and toxicological consequences


Keywords: Metallodrugs, metal complexes, metal-related toxicity, metal environmental pollutants, metal occupational risks


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Metal ions play a crucial role in proper functioning of living matter, while providing unique electrochemical and spectroscopic properties that cannot be attained by purely organic compounds. Amongst all known metal ions, only 10 are essential for human life, and the remainder are considered toxic. Nevertheless, over 60 metal ions are used nowadays in drug therapies and diagnostic agents, raising concerns regarding potential adverse effects to humans and the environment. While every year hundreds of new metal complexes are presented in scientific literature, and further are selected for clinical trials, we need to bear in mind Amara’s law, stating that "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run."

This Research Topic aims to bring together recent research and investigation on metal–complexes in medicine, discussing potential benefits, but also occupational and environmental risks. The goal is to present challenges in the use of metal complexes in medicine from a medicinal chemistry perspective, discussing the development of new compounds, and recent advances that address the associated risks. We encourage researchers to present innovative metal-complexes, which compete with known technologies and respect the environment, as well as asking the scientific community to discuss potential hazards related to the use of metal complexes in medicine, and how the risks could be avoided.

We welcome researchers from different fields to contribute their articles on recent advances and applications in the field of metal complexes as diagnostic and therapeutic tools in human pathologies, with particular attention to their toxicity and potential occupational and environmental hazards. We encourage researchers working in these fields to submit their latest Original Research, Review, Mini Review, or Perspective articles dealing with themes that include, but are not limited to:

 • Design and synthesis of novel metallodrugs for medical applications such as medical imaging, theragnostics, and as adjuvants
 • Novel metal complexes as anti-inflammatory agents
 • Green chemistry approaches in metal complexes synthesis
 • Investigation of metal ion-related toxicity in the body
 • Interaction of novel metal complexes with biological molecules, and toxicological consequences


Keywords: Metallodrugs, metal complexes, metal-related toxicity, metal environmental pollutants, metal occupational risks


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

17 September 2021 Abstract
24 December 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

17 September 2021 Abstract
24 December 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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