Copyright ©The Author(s) 2018. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Transl Med. Sep 20, 2018; 7(1): 1-4
Published online Sep 20, 2018. doi: 10.5528/wjtm.v7.i1.1
More than boric acid: Increasing relevance of boron in medicine
Eunice D Farfán-García, Emily L Castillo-García, Marvin A Soriano-Ursúa
Eunice D Farfán-García, Emily L Castillo-García, Marvin A Soriano-Ursúa, Department of Physiology, Escuela Superior de Medicina, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Ciudad de México 11340, Mexico
Author contributions: Farfán-García ED and Soriano-Ursúa MA conceived the study and drafted the manuscript; all authors collected, added and analyzed data; all authors approved the final version of the article.
Supported by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologí a de Mé xico, No. CB235785.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Correspondence to: Marvin A Soriano-Ursúa, MD, PhD, Professor, Research Scientist, Department of Physiology, Escuela Superior de Medicina, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Plan de San Luis y Díaz Mirón, Del. Miguel Hidalgo, Ciudad de México 11340, Mexico. msoriano@ipn.mx
Telephone: +52-55-57296000 Fax: +52-55-57296000
Received: June 20, 2018
Peer-review started: June 21, 2018
First decision: July 9, 2018
Revised: July 31, 2018
Accepted: August 30, 2018
Article in press: August 30, 2018
Published online: September 20, 2018

Although boron has been a chemical element of interest since the ancient times, only a few boron-containing compounds (BCCs) had been used for medicinal purposes before the 21st century. Among these, only boric acid has been explored in multiple therapeutic applications. Hence, it is common to extrapolate from boric acid to all BCCs, supposing a similar biological effect. However, boric acid is just one of dozens of BCCs in nature and thousands available from chemical synthesis. Nowadays, there is a boom in research on new BCCs as potential tools in the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of human disease. We herein discuss the new role of BCCs in drug development, with emphasis on the compounds for which a mechanism of action has been proposed or demonstrated. Because of data gathered in recent years, BCCs have expanded beyond the well-known fields of antimicrobial and antineoplastic agents, now being explored for their possible use as enzyme inhibitors, regulators of protein expression and modulators of the immune response, as well as in biomaterials. We suggest that translational medicine can accelerate the medicinal applications of BCCs, which is especially important for the human diseases that are generating a high global burden.

Keywords: Boron, Diagnosis, Drug development, Drug targets, Immunological processes

Core tip: Boron-containing compounds (BCCs) have growing relevance in the biomedical field. The former almost exclusive focus on boric acid has expanded to include a wide range of BCCs in chemical and biomedical studies. The reported findings suggest that research in this field will continue increasing exponentially in the near future. Through translational medicine, the boron atom is being introduced into new compounds to explore its use in the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of multiple pathologies.