We live in a world where the diseases we fight are learning how to fight back. Antibiotics are an obsolete weapon whose use leads to resistance in bacteria, while there are more and more cases of cancer developing resistance to chemotherapy treatments.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to antibiotics is a growing healthcare concern that happens when bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics, hence becoming useless. CDC's latest report revealed that each year in the U.S., almost 3 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and more than 35,000 people die.
However, AMR is only the tip of the iceberg, the hot sauce on a more significant threat that the healthcare system is currently facing: hospital-acquired infections, or HAIs. On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one HAI. In American hospitals alone, CDC estimates that HAIs account for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year. Of these infections, 32% are urinary tract infections (UTIs) and. 22% are surgical site infections (SSIs).
Chemotherapy resistance occurs when cancers that have been responding to therapy suddenly begin to grow and proliferate. In other words, the cancer cells are resisting the effects of the chemotherapy. Currently, 90% of failures in chemotherapy are during the invasion and metastasis of cancers related to drug resistance.
Although 75% of patients with advanced disease will respond to initial chemotherapy, the majority will relapse within 2 years of completing treatment, and 25% of patients are intrinsically resistant, meaning that they will not respond to chemotherapy at all.
Nanotechnology is defined as the study and application of materials with sizes less than 100 nm in at least one dimension. Since the beginning, the implementation of the nanoscale world has been beneficial in a wide range of fields such as chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry, as well as medicine.
In a world where antibiotics and chemotherapy treatments are not as effective as they used to be, nanotechnology may offer one of the most outstanding solutions. Nanomaterials of different compositions, shapes, and sizes are manufactured through a wide variety of methods. Once produced, these nanomaterials are extremely useful as biomedical agents to fight both problems.
One of the most critical factors affecting the performance of such nanostructures is how they are made. For many decades, the unique answer was traditional synthesis: the use of physics and chemistry to design methods for nanoparticle production. Nevertheless, these methods, although efficient, are not free of drawbacks, such as the production of toxic by-products or the use of expensive reagents, with an essential impact in both the environment and society.
Therefore, an alternative is needed.
The Green Chemistry Lab was born as an initiative to find an alternative to the traditional synthesis of nanomaterials and generate reliable and efficient biomedical agents to fight both antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics and chemotherapy resistant tumors.
Our mission is to investigate, develop and establish synthesis methods based on green nanotechnology, with techniques which use natural raw materials as unique active agents for the production of nanostructures. From the use of biomolecules (proteins, lipids or carbohydrates) to the employment of living organisms (such as bacteria or human cells), our approaches are aimed for a clean and environmentally-friendly synthesis of nanomaterials.