A class of diagnostic and therapeutic compounds derived from phosphinimines that include ligands containing either a single phosphinimine functionality or both a phosphinimine group and a phosphine or arsine group, or an aminato group, or a second phosphinimine moiety. These phosphinimine ligands are complexed to early transition metal radionuclides (e.g. .sup.99m Tc or .sup.186 Re/.sup.188 Re) or late transition metals (e.g., .sup.105 Rh or .sup.109 Pd). The complexes with these metals .sup.186 Re/.sup.188 Re, .sup.99m Tc and .sup.109 Pd exhibit a high in vitro and high in vivo stability. The complexes are formed in high yields and can be neutral or charged. These ligands can also be used to form stable compounds with paramagnetic transition metals (e.g. Fe and Mn) for potential use as MRI contrast agents. Applications for the use of ligands and making the ligands are also disclosed.
Research in this application was supported in part by a grant from the Department of Energy (DE-FG02-89ER60875) to one of the inventors (Wynn A. Volkert). The Government has certain rights in the invention.