Opening a New Pathway to Treat Intractable Lung Cancer

2019-09-16 Academic

Professor Kwangpyo Kim (Applied Chemistry), Chief of the Multi-Omics Lab at the Medical Science Research Institute of Kyung Hee, and his team was selected to conduct a new task in the field of cancer, an omics-based precision medical technology development project organized by the Korea Research Foundation

Professor Kim will lead a project to propose biomarkers for intractable cancers and discover new drug treatment targets by analyzing biometric information (or omics). The project will involve cooperation between seven institutions for the next six years. In the interview below, Professor Kim explains the nature of the task and shares his plans for the research.

Identifying therapeutic targets to suppress metastasis and recurrence of refractory lung cancer
Q. What is your project about?
A. Supported by the Korean Research Foundation’s biomedical development program, it is an omics-based precision medical technology development project. We were selected under the theme of Overcoming Lung Cancer through Multi-omics Analysis by Tracking Precision Medical Research Resource Cohorts. The project will aim to present new biomarkers for intractable lung cancer and discover new therapeutic targets that could suppress metastasis and recurrence, which are major obstacles to conquering lung cancer.

This research is joined by seven institutions, including Kyung Hee University, Asan Medical Center, Konkuk University Medical Center, Korea University, Hanyang University, Pusan National University, and Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology. Several pharmaceutical companies and investors will work together to apply a new precision medical technology for lung cancer, which will be developed during the clinical research. For the next six years, divided into two three-year phases, we will receive two billion KRW a year, a total of 12 billion KRW. It's a huge project.

First, we will perform multi-omics analysis on samples collected from more than 700 patients with lung cancer. Following from the onset through the course of the lung cancer, we will analyze the clinical records, such as genetic variation and proteomic changes, to predict treatment responses and establish a signaling network model for lung cancer. Later, we will use advanced model systems, such as organoids, to identify key regulatory factors for refractory lung cancer and identify new drug treatment targets. If the research goes well, we will be able to predict the metastasis and recurrence prognosis of non-small cell lung cancer and even find the appropriate drugs for treatment.

The research goals include the realization of precision medicine and practical use of research results.
Q. What is your opinion on the project and your future plans?
A. Over the last decade, we have been developing new diagnostics for several diseases and looking for therapeutic targets. Earlier this year, we had good results in the fields of gastric and lung cancer. We wanted to create a model system based on the research results and samples from patients; and we wanted to develop new treatments, beyond just publishing a paper. To this end, the research team was constantly gathering together and studying, and in the process, we were given this great opportunity.

In addition to the excellence of the research proposal, I heard that the determination of the host organization was an important factor considered in the selection. We would like to thank Kyung Hee and the Industrial and Academic Cooperation Foundation for both their practical and moral support. Furthermore, patients with refractory cancer were willing to provide samples for the study. I appreciate all the help and feel a great responsibility to lead the research to success.

This study is also joined by pharmaceutical companies and diagnostic companies, aiming to realize precision medicine and put research results into practice. In six years, when the project ends, I want to explore new avenues for treating lung cancer as well as offer such treatments to patients and their families.

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