Optimizing Arsenic Therapy by Selectively Targeting Leukemia Cells

Publication Name

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry


Arsenic, in the simple form of arsenic trioxide, is currently marketed for the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia. Due to the multifaceted mechanisms of action of arsenic, it has also shown promise in other types of leukemias but is hindered by its toxic effects toward normal cells. This research has aimed to determine whether tumor-homing peptide complexes of arsenic can be designed and developed to strategically target specific cancers. The end goal is to achieve dose reduction and decreased side effects of the resultant arsenic therapeutic agent. In this article, we present the synthesis, characterization, and stability studies of a new class of As-peptide complexes designed to target leukemia. In vitro biological studies of the most stable complex show 1000 times greater toxicity toward leukemia cells over human blood cells, indicating potential for progression to in vivo studies.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

U.S. Department of Energy



Link to publisher version (DOI)