Sugar is good for you! The latest developments in the field of sugar substitution of metal complexes and its influence on the action of these complexes in biological systems are discussed (see figure). In particular, the progress in applications as selective tracers and therapeutics in connection to the underlying chemical structure is highlighted.
Metal complexes possess unique tunable properties, such as radioactivity, cytotoxicity or photophysical features, enabling them to act as diagnostic tracers or therapeutic agents. In applying them in biological systems, it is often necessary to enhance their solubility and biocompatibility. To achieve such goals, like the targeting of binding domains, transport systems and enzyme activities, the attachment of carbohydrate moieties appears to be suitable. Sugar-substitution in the periphery of metal complexes has therefore become a strongly growing field of research. Outlined herein is a selection of recent examples.