Element 78 in our International Year of the Periodic Table series is platinum. Platinum is found in compounds used as key anti-cancer drugs and it also one of several metals used in catalytic converters.

Platinum-based drugs are administered in combination with other drugs to treat several different types of cancer. The first platinum-based anti-cancer drug, cisplatin, was approved in the U.S. in 1978. The drugs bind to bases in DNA, stopping cancer from growing. There’s more detail in this graphic in C&EN.

Platinum is well-known for its use in jewellery. It has a high resistance to corrosion, and for this reason was used in the metal bar that previously defined the metre. It’s also harder wearing than gold.

Several metals, including platinum, are used in catalytic converters in cars. There’s a full graphic on this topic here.

Remember, you can keep track of all of the previous entries in this series on the site here, or on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s dedicated page.