The main objective is to design new photo-reactive metal complexes able to selectively target G-quadruplex DNA versus duplex DNA and to achieve a high photo-cytotoxicity towards cancer cells. The long-term objectives will be to offer new drugs for cancer phototherapy.

In collaboration with Pr B. Elias from Louvain la Neuve University (UCLouvain) and A. Decottignies (de Duve Institute - UCLouvain), we study ruthenium(II) and iridium(III) based metal complexes, which have been designed to selectively interact and photo-react with G-quadruplex DNA (Chem. Eur. J. 2018 ; Inorg. Chem 2020). Some of those complexes display efficient cell penetration in the nucleus and a strong photocytotoxicity toward osteosarcoma cells. More interestingly, we have evidenced the formation in cellulo of selective photo-oxidative damages in the telomeric region.