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An internationally renowned academic journal published the research result produced by a KAST research team on its cover.
Fc DAAP VEGF-Trap Photograph showing the gross features of tumor growth along the mesentery-intestinal border. T: tumor. Scale bars represent 5 mm. Professor Gou-Young Koh of the Biological Sciences Department, KAIST, and his research team published their research result in Cancer Cell, a peer-review scientific journal, as a cover article dated August 17, 2010. It is the first time for the journal to pick up a paper written by a Korean research team and publish it as the cover. It has been known that a vascular growth factor (VEGF) is closely related to the growth of a tumor. The research team recently discovered that in addition to VEGF, another growth factor, angiopoietin-2 (Ang2), is also engaged with the increase of tumors. Professor Koh said, “VEGF and the angiopoietins play critical roles in tumor progression and metastasis, and a single inhibitor targeting both factors have not been available.” The team led by Professor Koh has developed a double anti-angiogenic protein (DAAP) that can simultaneously bind VEGF-A and the angiopoietins and block their actions. Professor Koh said in his paper, “DAAP is a highly effective molecule for regressing tumor angiogenesis and metastasis in implanted and spontaneous solid tumor; it can also effectively reduce ascites formation and vascular leakage in an ovarian carcinoma model. Thus, simultaneous blockade of VEGF-A and angiopoietins with DAAP is an effective therapeutic strategy for blocking tumor angiogenesis, metastasis, and vascular leakage.” So far, cancer patients have received Avastin, anticancer drug, to inhibit VEGF, but the drug has not successfully restrained the growth of cancer tumors and brought to some of the patients with serious side effects instead. Professor Koh said, “DAAP will be very effective to control the expansion of tumor growth factors, which will open up a new possibility for the development of more helpful cancer medicine with low side effects.”
KAIST Research Team Identified Promising New Source to Obtain Stem Cells
KAIST Research Team Identified Promising New Source to Obtain Stem Cells A research team at KAIST led by Professor Gou-Young Koh, M.D. and Ph.D., of the Department of Biological Sciences, has found evidence that fat tissue, known as adipose tissue, may be a promising new source of valuable and easy-to-obtain regenerative cells called hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). HSPCs are adult stem cells that have the ability to generate and develop into many different kinds of cells. They are now used to repair damaged tissues and are being studied for their potential to treat a vast array of chronic and degenerative conditions such as leukemia. Mostly found in bone marrow but with a limited quantity, HSPCs are hard to cultivate in vitro, thus becoming an obstacle to use them for research and therapeutic purposes. Within the adipose tissue is a special cell population known as the stromal vascular fraction (SVF), which share similar properties to those in the bone marrow. Cells in the bone marrow and SVF have the ability to differentiate into several cell types. In addition, both adipose and bone marrow offer similar environments for optimal stem cell growth and reproduction. Given the fact that adipose and bone marrow tissues share similar properties, Dr. Koh and his team conducted a research, injecting granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), a growth hormone used to encourage the development of stem cells, into an adipose tissue of a mouse whose bone marrow is damaged. As a result, the team has found that the SVF derived from adipose tissue contains functional HSPCs capable of generating hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells to repair the damaged bone morrow. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology nominated the KAIST research as one of its sponsoring 21st Century Frontier R&D Programs. Director Dong-Wook Kim of Stem Cell Research Center (SCRS) that oversees the KAIST team expressed a possibility to use the adipose tissue as an alternative source to obtain stem cells for regeneration medicine. Dr. Koh also said, “It’s been a well known method to extract HSPCs from the bone morrow or blood, but it’s the first time to identify adipose tissue, before considered useless, as a new possible supplier for functional and transplantable HSPCs.” The study results have received an important recognition from the academia—the American Society of Hematology published the research as a main article in its official journal, Blood, for the February 4th, 2010 issue, which is the most citied peer-reviewed publication in the field.
KAIST Prof. Park Selected as Winner of Clemson Award
Professor Tae-Gwan Park of the Department of Biological Sciences, KAIST, was chosen as the winner of the 2009 Clemson Award for Fundamental Research, university authorities said on Tuesday (April 7). The award is the highest recognition of the Society for Biomaterials, an international organization of more than 3,000 members that promotes research in the field of biomaterials. Prof. Park is cited for his outstanding achievements in interdisciplinary research covering gene transferring, gene therapy and neogenesis. It is rare for a non-U.S. national to win the prize in the 36-year history of the award. The award will be given to Professor Park at the Annual Meeting of the society which will be held in San Antonio, Texas, on April 22.
Prof. Chung Named Winner of 2008 KAIST Scientific Award
Professor Chung Jong-Kyeong of the Department of Biological Sciences was named the winner of the 2008 KAIST Scientific Award. The prize was awarded by KAIST President Suh Nam-Pyo during the 37th KAIST anniversary ceremony on Feb. 16. Chung was cited for disclosing the new anti-cancer aspect of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). His papers, published in the science magazine Nature in 2006 and again in 2007, revealed that the protein could be used to treat certain forms of cancer, as well as prevent malignant growths.
Professor Eunjoon Kim's team finds synapse-forming protein
Professor Eunjoon Kim’s team finds synapse-forming protein - discover a new protein ‘NGL’ that promotes the formation of neuronal synapses - can presume the cause of various brain disorders including schizophrenia - will be published at Nature Neuroscience Vol. 9 in September A new protein that promotes the formation of synapses in human brains was discovered by a Korean research team. The team led by Eunjoon Kim, Professor of Department of Biological Sciences and Head of Creative Research Group of Synapse Formation), announced that it had discovered a new fact that NGL protein promotes the formation of neuronal synapses and this fact would be published in Nature Neuroscience Vol. 9 on September 18. Professor Kim’s team discovered that a membrane protein named ‘NGL’ located at post synapse links with other membrane protein named netrin-G in pre synapse, acting as crosslink, and promotes the formation of a new synapse. ‘NGL’ is the second protein found to crosslink synapse, following neuoroligin. With the discovery of this new protein, the principle of synapse formation and the causes of various brain disorders can be presumed. In the human brain, about more than 100 billion neuron cells and about 10,000 synapses compose neural circuit. A synapse is the place where innervation occurs between neuron cells. The formation of synapse induces the formation of neural circuit, and neural circuit is deeply related with various brain disorders as well as normal development of brains or brain functions. “As netrin-G linked with NGL is related with schizonphrenia and neuoroligin and synapse crosslinking protein having a similar function with NGL is deeply related with mental retardation and autism, I think NGL is related with various brain disorders including schizophrenia.” <Explanation of attached photos> ■ Photo1: Experiment for confirming NGL’s ability to form synapse No. 1 Mix ordinary cell (green) revealing NGL at its surface and neuron cell. Axon grows toward NGL (ordinary cell) located in the middle of ten o’clock direction and meets NGL, where NGL induces the formation of pre synapse (red) in the contacting axon. Whether pre synapse has been formed can be told by the fluorescent dying (red) of pre synapse protein named Synapsin. - Figure a-b: formation of synapse by NGL - Figure c-d: transformed NGL losing synapse forming ability cannot form synapse ■ Photo 2: Experiment for confirming NGL’s ability to form synapse No. 2 When beads coated with NGL are scattered on neuron cell, the beads contact with the axon of the neuron cell (the beads are clearly visible at the phase differentiation image in the middle panel). At this time, NGL induces the formation of pre synapse (red) in the axon. Whether pre synapse has been formed can be told by the fluorescent dying (red) of pre synapse protein named SynPhy (panel a) or VGlut1 (panel b).
Professor Tae-Gwan Park awarded Minister Prize
Professor Tae-Gwan Park awarded Minister Prize Professor Tae-Gwan Park (Department of Biological Sciences) was awarded the Minister Prize in the science innovation sector at the NANO KOREA 2006, which was opened on August 30. This prize is given to researchers who have shown excellent research results in the field of Nanotechnology, and Professor Park was awarded the Minister Prize in recognition of his innovative achievements in the fields of Tissue Engineering, Drug Delivery, Gene Therapy, which are fusion technologies of NT and BT that utilize nanobiomaterials.
Gene Protecting Brain Nerves Discovered
THE KOREA TIMES 2005.1.31By Kim Tae-gyu / Staff Reporter South Korean scientists have for the first time discovered genes tasked with protecting brain nerves. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology professor Kim Jae-seob said Sunday the new genes, named pyrexia, shield brain nerves from outside stimuli, including high temperatures. ``The channel gene of pyrexia will open the door to developing new-concept medicines for brain damage in patients of high fever or drug addicts,’’ he said. The channel gene refers to transport proteins, which provide a static passageway for a variety of essential substances to enter into cells. ``Up until now, a lot of channel genes activated by temperatures have been identified. But among them, pyrexia is first that guards brain nerves from external stresses,’’ Kim said. Kim’s team learned pyrexia plays a pivotal role in the body through experiments with genetically engineered flies that did not have any pyrexia. Up to 60 percent of the pyrexia-depleted mutants were paralyzed within three minutes of exposure to a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. In comparison, just 9 percent of normal flies were paralyzed with the same stimulus, indicating pyrexia is responsible for protecting animals from high-temperature stress. ``Our next goal is to develop pyrexia-embedded drugs, which can be expected to commercially debut in about five years,’’ Kim said. Kim has already applied for international patents for his medical breakthrough, which will be printed in the March edition of Nature Genetics, a science journal. email@example.com
Nerve-protecting gene discovered
Korean scientists for the first time have identified a gene that blocks nerve damage from fevers and the use of narcotics, a state-run research institute said yesterday. The finding may open the way for new medicine that can prevent the loss of brain function which is frequently caused by excessive stimulation of nerves and abnormally high body temperature. "The research is in an early stage. But this approach has the potential to develop genetics-based preventatives against brain-attacking diseases," said Kim Jae-seob, a bioscience professor of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, who led the study. The researchers named the gene Pyrexia, which means fever. Kim"s team extracted it from genetically engineered fruit flies using a genome-screening system. In laboratory tests, they found that the gene is activated to 39 degrees Celsius or higher. The researchers enhanced Pyrexia"s functionality in some fruit flies while removing the gene from others to observe their different reactions when exposed to high temperature. "The fruit flies without the gene showed severe nerve disorder and suffered paralysis of brain function, while Pyrexia-enhanced flies maintained their normal brain conditions," the professor said. The researchers got the same result from experiments with human cells, he said. There are a lot of channel proteins, which enable ions to enter and exit the cell, that react to the level of temperature, but Pyrexia is the first of its kind that actually protects the neurons from external stimulus, he said. The finding will appear on the March edition of the London-based science magazine Nature Genetics. THE KOREA HERALD 2005.1.31 (firstname.lastname@example.org) By Kim Tong-hyung
Researchers Find Mechanism of Tumor Suppressor Genes
By Kim Tae-gyu. Staff ReporterTHE Korea Times 02-06-2004 Korean scientists continue to break new ground in fighting cancer as domestic researchers examined the mechanism of a gene which can help detect and treat various sorts of cancer. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Prof. Lim Dae-sik on Thursday said his team uncovered the mechanism of RASSF1A (Ras Association Domain Family 1 A), or tumor suppressor genes, for the first time in the world. The gene was widely considered to play an important role in reducing the proliferation of cancer cells, but its exact function and processes have remained unknown up to now. It is the second cancer-related breakthrough by Koreans in a week after Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) Prof. Chung Hesson unveiled the oral anti-cancer drug. ``Cancer results from the failed management of cell cycles due to things like radiation. After a two-year intensive study, we found out how RASSF1A governs the cell cycle,"" Lim said. Lim added cancer is caused by abnormal cells, which continue to grow and divide out of control unlike normal cells, which die over time. Cancer cells develop into malignant tumors, eventually inflicting damaging effect on the human body. As a result, a lack of the RASSF1A indicates a high possibility of cancer and injection of it into cells is believed to help cure the deadly disease, according to Lim. Dr. Song Min-sup, who took charge of the research, said the findings will especially pave the way for the detection and treatment of lung cancer. ``The dearth of RASSF1A was reported mostly in the case of lung cancer. The new findings will provide insight into the diagnosis and cure of lung cancer from its early stages,"" Song explained. Lung cancer is a very elusive disease because it doesn"t cause symptoms in its infancy. When symptoms do occur, usually it is too late. ``We expect commercial detection kits or drugs for lung cancer in around five years after pre-clinic experimentation and two-phase clinic trials,"" Song expected. Details of the study is available in the scientific journal Nature Cell Biology in its February edition. email@example.com
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