Biologically Active N-Heterocyclic Carbene–Metal Complexes
The field of N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC)–metal complexes is diverse in both its chemical structures and applications. Whereas the majority of NHC chemistry focuses on the design of new catalysts mainly for organic synthesis, the last decade has seen an increase in applications oriented towards metal-based pharmaceuticals. Two main areas of focus are effective antimicrobial and anticancer therapeutics. NHCs incorporating silver and gold, among other metals, have been shown to be effective against a wide range of bacterial types and have demonstrated promise as potential anticancer agents. Despite these advancements, clinical translation of NHC–metal complexes has not yet been achieved. To meet this challenge, several areas of NHC–metal chemistry must be further investigated. These include better understanding of interactions with biomolecules and expanding knowledge of mechanistic action. However, with the wide range of NHCs that can be synthetically achieved, this area of research is capable of producing a diverse class of compounds with the potential to translate to future pharmaceuticals.