Professor Sang-Ho Lee to Receive 4.2 Billion KRW in Research Funding from the Ministry of Health and Welfare

2013-11-22 Research

Professor Sang-Ho Lee’s research team at the Department of Nephrology at Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong was selected for funding in the Health Technology R&D Project by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

A research project called “Kidney Transplant Immune Control Technology Development by Using an Organ Rejection and a Long-Term Graft Survival Biomarker” by Professor Lee’s team was selected for further research in the area of new technology development. The team will receive 4.2 billion KRW in research funding for six years starting in October 2013.

Developing a non-invasive biomarker to diagnose organ rejection
Because every individual has different DNA, it is inevitable for patients of kidney transplants to experience transplant rejection. Therefore, kidney transplant recipients are required to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives. Thus far, the same amount of immunosuppressive drugs has been prescribed to each patient regardless of their varying reactions to the drugs. In the case of side effects, the patient must undergo an invasive kidney biopsy.

Professor Lee’s team submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health and Welfare to develop an immune control technology which will help ease the process of kidney transplants. The research aims to develop a non-invasive biomarker to diagnose organ rejection in the early stages following a kidney transplant to control the rejection symptoms.

A biomarker is a traceable substance that is introduced into an organism as a means to examine organ function or other aspects of health.

Professor Lee stated, “We will examine various transcriptomes and proteomes to develop a biomarker through the technological convergence of transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and immune system monitoring. Our fundamental goal is to contribute to increasing long-term graft survival rate by providing customized immunotherapy.”

Selection attributed to success of previous research outcomes and technological capacity
Professor Lee’s team was selected by the National Research Foundation of Korea in October 2012 to receive 1 billion KRW in funding for the next five years for the project, “A New Role of Substance-P as a Stem Cell-Stimulating Agent to Protect Kidney Damage and Renew Tissues.” Professor Lee’s team is currently conducting research in cooperation with the team of Professor Youngsook Son of the Department of Genetic Engineering to develop cell renewal technology to replace expensive and time-consuming adult stem cell treatment. Professor Lee noted, “We were selected for government research projects thanks to the outstanding previous research conducted by our professors and the overall technological capacity of Kyung Hee University. I will concentrate my efforts to successfully carry out the two projects I am handling to improve efficiency in treating patients. Moreover, I will use the research findings to conduct even bigger research projects in the future.”

Translated by Ji Eun Song · Edited by Karen Choi

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