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    Without quantum theory any understanding of molecular interactions is incomplete. In principal, chemistry, and even biology, can be fully derived from non-relativistic quantum mechanics. In practice, conventional quantum chemical calculations are computationally too intensive and time consuming to be useful for drug discovery on more than a limited basis. A previously described, original, quantum-based computational process for drug discovery and design bridges this gap between theory and practice, and allows the application of quantum methods to large-scale in silico identification of active compounds. Here, we show the results of this quantum-similarity approach applied to the discovery of novel liver-stage antimalarials. Testing of only five of the model-predicted compounds in vitro and in vivo hepatic stage drug inhibition assays with P. berghei identified four novel chemical structures representing three separate quantum classes of liver-stage antimalarials. All four compounds inhibited liver-stage Plasmodium as a single oral dose in the quantitative PCR mouse liver-stage sporozoites-challenge model. One of the newly identified compounds, cethromycin [ABT-773], a macrolide-quinoline hybrid, is a drug with an extensive (over 5,000 people) safety profile warranting its exploitation as a new weapon for the current effort of malaria eradication. The results of our molecular modeling exceed current state-of-the-art computational methods. Drug discovery through quantum similarity is data-driven, agnostic to any particular target or disease process that can evaluate multiple phenotypic, target-specific, or co-crystal structural data. This allows the incorporation of additional pharmacological requirements, as well as rapid exploration of novel chemical spaces for therapeutic applications.


    David J Sullivan, Yi Liu, Bryan T Mott, Nikola Kaludov, Martin N Martinov. Discovery of Novel Liver-Stage Antimalarials through Quantum Similarity. PloS one. 2015;10(5):e0125593

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    PMID: 25951139

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