(165b) Developing Precision Medicine Using Quantum Biology: Combining Quantum States, Surface Chemistry, and Microbiology

Nagpal, P., University of Colorado Boulder
Courtney, C., University of Colorado Boulder
Goodman, S., University of Colorado Boulder
Chatterjee, A., University of Colorado Boulder
Health and medicine are personal for each individual, but most of the current diagnosis and treatments follow “one size fits all” approach. Recently there has been increasing awareness to remedy this, and several initiatives have been started towards personalized medicine, precision medicine, and others, to develop customized and tailored solutions. In this talk, I will address recent advances made in my group in developing precision medicine using “Quantum Biology”, a set of spectroscopic techniques and quantum-confined materials addressing molecular and nanoscale material and surface interactions to develop transformative solutions for detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Particularly, my talk will focus on developing a new class of nanomaterial therapeutics for drug-resistant superbugs that selectively target the pathogens, without adversely affecting the growth of nearby human host cells. These therapeutics can be triggered by an external stimuli, which can allow selective targeting and controlled drug delivery, while reducing possible adverse side-effects.

Multidrug-resistant bacterial infections are an ever-growing threat because of the shrinking arsenal of efficacious antibiotics, and the high-frequency of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infections combined with the lack of new antibiotics threatens the future of our healthcare system as we approach a post-antibiotic era. An increasing class of gram-negative multidrug-resistant pathogens like Enterobacteriaceae including carbapenem-resistant (CRE) Escherichia coli and extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPN) are severely antibiotic resistant and were recently designated priority 1 critical class bacterial pathogens in urgent need of effective antibiotics by the World Health Organization. To address an urgent need for developing a new class of antibiotics beyond the nominal small molecule discovery, and adjuvants to work or potentiate existing antibiotics, my group is developing nanomaterial therapeutics combining quantum confined materials, surface chemistry, and microbiology. Furthermore, while using external stimulus like light has been successful in addressing issues of drug delivery and transport in metal nanoparticle based therapies, metal nanoparticles induced cell death and toxicity effect is typically nonspecific. Here, I will show a range of quantum confined nanomaterials such as quantum dots (QDs) can kill a wide range of multidrug-resistant bacterial clinical isolates, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli, and extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella typhimurium. The killing effect is independent of material and controlled by the redox potentials of the photogenerated charge carriers, which selectively alter the cellular redox state. We also show that the QDs can be tailored to kill 92% of bacterial cells in a monoculture, and in a co-culture of E. coli and HEK 293T cells, while leaving the mammalian cells intact, or to increase bacterial proliferation. These studies can not only lead to development of new antibiotics and adjuvants for clinical therapeutics for the treatment of infections, but also be used in the study of the effect of redox states on living systems.