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The Chemistry of the Platinum Group Metals

A REVIEW OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

For the .first time an intwnational conference has been devoted solely to the chemistry of the platinum group of metals. Organispd by the Dalton Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the School of Chemistry at the University o j Bristol, this highly successful meeting attracted well over three hundred participants from twenty-seven countries, the proceedings including four main lectures, thirty invited papers and more than a hundred contributions in the form o,f posters.

The greatly increased and widespread interest now being taken in the biological potential of the platinum metals, in their usefulness in homogeneous catalysis and generally in their organometallic compounds prompted the organisation of this unique con- ference attended by representatives of the major oil, chemical and pharmaceutical companies as well as by academic chemists. It is possible to review only briefly the more important develop- ments that were discussed during the five-day meeting held at Bristol in July. A comprehen- sive book containing abstracts of all the papers and posters is available from the School of Chemistry at the IJniversity of Hristol.

Platinum in Cancer Therapy

The opening lecture on the mechanism of action of platinum anti-cancer drugs was given by Professor Barnett Rosenberg of the Michigan State University, the discoverer in 1967 of this method of treatment. His original

compound

cis-dichlorodiammineplatinum(II),

now known commercially as cisplatin or Neoplatin, is well established as a drug. It is particularly useful in the treatment of genito- urinary tumours such as testicular, ovarian and bladder, especially when used in combination with other anti-tumour drugs. However, this is likely to be only the first of a new class of anti- tumour drugs based on platinum co-ordination complexes. Many structural variants have been screened and it is evident that a cis configura-

tion for two amine ligands is an essential prere- quisite for an active complex. Five compounds of this type are currently undergoing phase I clinical trials.

Several papers dealing with aspects of the same subject and with the reaction of these compounds with DNA were presented by Professor Stephen Lippard of Columbia University, Ilr. Bernhard Lippert of the Institut der Technischen Universitat in Munich, Dr. J. P. Macquet and his colleagues from the Laboratoire de Pharmacologie et de Toxicdogie Fondamentales du CNRS, Professor R. Hau of the Iiniversity of Southern California and Professor W. M. Beck of the [Jniversity of Munich. A paper from Professor Michael Cais and his colleagues at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa described some novel platinum complexes with potential anti-tumour activity based on the increased selectivity con- ferred by the antigenic properties of the ligands, while Professor R. D. Gillard of University College, Cardiff, reported on the effect on bacterial growth of some rhodium complexes.

Organometallic Chemistry

The main lecture on the sessions on co- ordination and .organometallic chemistry was given by Professor Sei gtsuka of Osaka University under the intriguing title of “What can be achieved with bulky phosphines?” It was demonstrated that bulky trialkylphosphines

Platinum Metals Rev., 1981, 25, (41, 156-159

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