The development of new methods for ion transport for the potential future treatment of channelopathies and cancers

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University of New Brunswick


Channelopathies are diseases caused by disruption of the ion transport process within the cell; cystic fibrosis being one of the most well-known examples of these conditions. Developing new methods of synthetically transporting ions into cells with non-functioning protein channels is imperative for improving treatments for these diseases. Cancer drugs that function as ion transporters have also recently become of interest to scientists. These drugs work to induce cellular apoptosis of cancer cells by causing a rapid influx of ions to disrupt the cell’s ion homeostasis and are proving to be efficient in treating cancer. During cancer treatment, lifesaving drugs, and dyes used to image tumors must be administered separately. Within the field of theranostics, scientists have sought out to combine therapeutic drugs and diagnostic tools to solve this problem, however, there has yet to be a drug developed that can both induce cellular apoptosis through ion transport, and act as a tumor imaging dye. Within this project we have developed the first reported example of using metal-organic frameworks as anion transporters, as well as the development of two new iridium (III) complexes that can act as both bioimaging dyes and as anion transporters for the potential future treatment of channelopathies and cancers.