Introduction

Cobalt is a relatively rare metal that forms approximately 0.001% of the earth's crust. Its vital status was not proved until after World War II, in 1948, when the 'anti-pernicious anemia factor', which came to be called 'Vitamin B12', was finally purified and isolated as crystals.1 Since then, cobalt complexes have received much attention. The diamagnetic and stable nature of cobalt(III) complexes make them excellent models for metalloenzymes.2 4 As potential pharmaceutical agents, cobalt complexes have been used for the development of enzyme inhibitors,5 7 nucleic acid structure probes,8 DNA-cleaving agents8 and anti-tumor drugs.9 In addition, cobalt complexes are also being studied for their utility as drug delivery devices,10 hypoxic selective agents11 and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agents.12 In this chapter, the use of cobalt in medicine will be outlined.

Metallotherapeutic Drugs and Metal-Based Diagnostic Agents: The Use of Metals in Medicine Edited by Gielen and Tiekink © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

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