MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Could we combine metals and drugs...

Date: Sun Nov 30 18:54:00 2003
Posted By: Michael Maguire, Professor
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1069915125.Me

The concept of targeting drugs is a major focus in modern pharmacology.  
The general manner in which a drug is targeted is to couple it to 
something that will react selectively with a protein or other component of 
a tumor cell or some other component of the target tissue.  Sometimes 
antibodies can be used.  Most of the time, some minimal degree of 
targeting is achieved by the mode of administration of the drug.  For 
example, a nasal spray targets the drug largely to the nasal passages and 
the lungs, thus minimizing the amount of drug that gets into the 
circulation and thus the rest of the body.

The idea of using a metal and magnetism is at least conceivable.  However, 
the metal would have to be either ionized or covalently bound to the drug 
(or drug carrier).   I don't believe that it could be magnetic under such 
(chemical) circumstances.  In addition, the magnets would presumably be 
applied from outside the body and thus would not achieve very good 
(spatial) resolution.  But keep thinking, it's not a bad idea, and someday 
someone is going to come up with some feasible ideas to make it work.  It 
would certainly enhance therapeutic responses while minimizing adverse 

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