Cisplatin (Molecule of the Month for December 2005)
Cisplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapy drug used to treat various types of cancers, such as sarcomas, some carcinomas, lymphomas and germ cell tumors.
Cisplatin works by crosslinking across DNA inter-strands, making it impossible for rapidly dividing cells to duplicate their DNA for cell division (mitosis). The damaged DNA sets off DNA repair mechanisms which fails to work, so in turn activate cell death processes (apoptosis). The trans isomer does not have this pharmacological effect.
In 1965, Rosenberg made a chance observation that electrolysis experiments were having a remarkable effect on E. Coli bacteria. The bacteria were seen to grow 300 times their normal length and then burst rather than undergo normal cell division. The platinum electrode was shown produce very small amounts of solube platinum compounds in solution and this material had the remarkable effect on the cell division. Following up this work in the early 1970, cisplatin was found stop the growth of rapid cell division in certain type of cancer cells and so after in 1978 cisplatin became one of the first major chemotherapy drugs.
Other platinum based drugs are also used such as carboplatin and most recently Eloxatin (oxaliplatin).
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for December 2005 )