Starting in ancient China and Greece, arsenic-containing compounds have been used in the treatment of disease for over 3000 years. They were used for a variety of diseases in the 20th century, including parasitic and sexually transmitted illnesses. A resurgence of interest in the therapeutic application of arsenicals has been driven by the discovery that low doses of a 1% aqueous solution of arsenic trioxide (i.e., arsenous acid) lead to complete remission of certain types of leukemia. Since Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of arsenic trioxide (As2O3) for treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia in 2000, it has become a front-line therapy in this indication. There are currently over 100 active clinical trials involving inorganic arsenic or organoarsenic compounds registered with the FDA for the treatment of cancers. New generations of inorganic and organometallic arsenic compounds with enhanced activity or targeted cytotoxicity are being developed to overcome some of the shortcomings of arsenic therapeutics, namely, short plasma half-lives and a narrow therapeutic window.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry