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Review Article

Ruthenium Metallotherapeutics: Novel Approaches to Combatting Parasitic Infections

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 31 ]


Nicole S. Britten and Jonathan A. Butler*   Pages 5159 - 5178 ( 20 )


Human parasitic infections cause a combined global mortality rate of over one million people per annum and represent some of the most challenging diseases for medical intervention. Current chemotherapeutic strategies often require prolonged treatment, coupled with subsequent drug-induced cytotoxic morbidity to the host, while resistance generation is also a major concern. Metals have been used extensively throughout the history of medicine, with more recent applications as anticancer and antimicrobial agents. Ruthenium metallotherapeutic antiparasitic agents are highly effective at targeting a range of key parasites, including the causative agents of malaria, trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, amoebiasis, toxoplasmosis and other orphan diseases, while demonstrating lower cytotoxicity profiles than current treatment strategies. Generally, such compounds also demonstrate activity against multiple cellular target sites within parasites, including inhibition of enzyme function, cell membrane perturbation, and alterations to metabolic pathways, therefore reducing the opportunity for resistance generation. This review provides a comprehensive and subjective analysis of the rapidly developing area of ruthenium metal- based antiparasitic chemotherapeutics, in the context of rational drug design and potential clinical approaches to combatting human parasitic infections.


Antiparasitic, ruthenium, malaria, trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, amoebiasis, metallotherapeutic, parasitic infections.


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