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NO.328 06.29.2017

Kyung Hee Research Team Identified New Biomarkers to Predict Successful In Vitro Fertilization

Professor Kwangpyo Kim and his research team at the Department of Applied Chemistry have identified proteins that interfere with the process of controlled ovarian stimulation (COS)

Controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) is a process of stimulating ovaries with hormones to harvest multiple ova to increase the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF). If a patient does not respond well to this hormonal stimulation, such a case is called “poor ovarian response (POR)” that frequently leads to the failure of the attempted IVF. Despite many theories, no clear cause or indicator of POR has been discovered. However, Professor Kim’s team has identified, for the first time in the world, a set of proteins that seem to interfere with COS, which in turn can be used as key biomarkers to predict how successful COS would be in case of an IVF. This article, co-authored by Seul Ki Kim, Jung Ryeol Lee, and others, was published on the back cover in the March 2017 issue of Proteomics.

Utilizing -omics to identify proteins causing POR
Professor Kim “We wanted to reduce the physical and financial strain on infertility patients opting IVF by discovering a way to predict how successful the IVF would be on a given patient.” This research was implemented through new disciplines of biology collectively known as l-omics” that include geonomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and others. They analyze key biological molecules in an organism to derive new information and knowledge on how those molecules interact to sustain life in that organism. 

Professor Kim’s team divided their patients into two groups, one with POR and the other without POR, and analyzed 1,079 proteins found in their follicular fluid. They discovered that three proteins appeared to be statistically meaningful biomarkers indicative of POR in that the more present these proteins were in the follicular fluid, the more prevalent POR was also: PZP (pregnancy zone protein), RENI (renin), and SPRX (sushi repeat-containing protein).

Multi-omics laboratory researching biomarkers for companion diagnostics

This research was largely done at the Multi-omics Laboratory established in 2015. Professor Kim, who is also the director of the Multi-omics Lab, said, “What we do at this lab is identifying biomarkers and developing practical therapeutic methodology to utilize those biomarkers in the context of companion diagnostics that prescribe only those medications that work in a given patient. To ascertain the effectiveness of a given treatment, it is essential to have clear understanding of known biomarkers that can tell us whether the treatment is right for this patient. It is also just as essential to continually find new biomarkers that can tell us new things about the patient and the disease. This will lead to a more effective treatment of diseases specifically tailored to each individual patient.”


This research was funded by the Disease-Fighting Technology Development Project (Low Birth Rate), managed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute.



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