Thiourea and Guanidine Compounds and their Iridium Complexes in Drug-Resistant Cancer Cell Lines: Structure-Activity Relationships and Direct Luminescent Imaging

Thiourea and guanidine units are found in nature, medicine, and materials. Their continued exploration in applications as diverse as cancer therapy, sensors, and electronics means that their toxicity is an important consideration. We have systematically synthesised a set of thiourea compounds and their guanidine analogues, and elucidated structure-activity relationships in terms of cellular toxicity in three ovarian cancer cell lines and their cisplatin-resistant sub-lines. We have been able to use the intrinsic luminescence of iridium complexes to visualise the effect of both structure alteration and cellular resistance mechanisms. These findings provide starting points for the development of new drugs and consideration of safety issues for novel thiourea- and guanidine-based materials.