Special Reviews

Boon and Bane of Metal Ions in Medicine

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Science  09 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5621, pp. 936-939
DOI: 10.1126/science.1083004

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In biological systems metal ions promote responses that range from deficiency to toxicity. Some, such as iron and zinc, have a known optimal intake range for normal, healthy individuals. Metal ions contained within well-designed molecules already constitute a great boon for the medicinal pharmacopoeia. However, whether essential or not, the threshold for toxicity can be very low. One of the challenges of designing metal-based drugs is to balance the potential toxicity of an active formulation with the substantial positive impact of these increasingly common therapeutic and diagnostic aids.

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