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Prof. Fabio Marchetti

Cyclopentadienyl diiron compounds as potential anticancer agents


The association of iron to several important biochemical pathways and its bio-compatibility make its complexes suitable candidates for drug development. Besides, dinuclear complexes offer the possibility to exploit cooperative effects between the two metals, especially if they are directly bound, and multisite coordination modes. These properties allow reactivity patterns not commonly observed with mononuclear species.
In this setting, cationic Fe(II)-Fe(II) compounds containing an aminocarbyne or a vinyliminium bridging ligand are promising candidates for anticancer drug development. These complexes are available by gram-scale procedures from the commercial Fe2Cp2(CO)4, via stepwise assembly of isocyanide, methyl and alkyne moieties on the diiron frame. Recent studies have revealed that they are soluble and stable in water and display a significant cytotoxicity in vitro, this activity being modulated by the R and R' substituents.
The main target of this PhD project is to tether molecular fragments with a documented biological activity to these scaffolds, since it has been demonstrated that the incorporation of bioactive fragments (e.g. aspirin, ethacrynic acid, ibuprofen, biotin, glucose) within anticancer metal structures may provide a synergic effect enhancing the cytotoxicity of the resulting compounds.

Journal articles:
Unusual activation pathways of amines in the reactions with molybdenum pentachloride; N. Bartalucci, M. Bortoluzzi, F. Marchetti, G. Pampaloni, S. Schoch, S. Zacchini; New J. Chem., 2017, 41, 4329-4340 [DOI: 10.1039/c6nj03992h].

α-diimine homologues of cisplatin: synthesis, speciation in DMSO/water and cytotoxicity; L. Biancalana, L. K. Batchelor, P. J. Dyson, S. Zacchini, S. Schoch, G. Pampaloni, F. Marchetti; New J. Chem., 2018, 42, 17453-17463 [DOI: 10.1039/c8nj04195d].


Oral communications at congress:

Poster communications at congress: