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Korea University College of Medicine Dedicated to Caring Community in Times of Crisis Its Philanthropic and Humanitarian Services Underpin Society
The Korean University College of Medicine takes the full responsibility and fulfills its duty as an organization committed to training health care professionals who serve the community.
Founded at the end of the old Korean Empire as Korea’s first women’s medical college, the Korean University College of Medicine has established hospitals in the regions where people don’t have easy access to medical care. And it has come up with solutions to difficult problems in times of big changes or crises. Recently when Korea faced public health crises from novel influenza, MERS, and the disaster of the capsized ferry carrying high-school students on a school trip, the Korean University College of Medicine and its hospitals did its utmost in order to help the community overcome such crises and fulfilled its duties as an educational organization dedicated to supporting the social values of Korea, which enabled it to earn strong support from the Korean people.
Since January 20, 2020 when Korea had its first confirmed case of COVID-19, it has provided advice to the national institutions so that they could efficiently fight against the infection, and tried to provide science-based information to the general public in order to minimize the chance that the public is misguided by wrong information. Korea University Medicine has sent their medical teams to the regions where they are needed most and established a smart patient monitoring system. Among others, medical staff were swiftly dispatched along with medical supplies including 3 ventilators to the Daegu Dongsan Hospital located in Daegu, South Korea’s epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, in an attempt to save the severely ill patients. Besides, various efforts have been made to support the facilities overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients such as the Gyeonggi International Care Center Number 2, which was open to treat those patients who came from abroad with mild symptoms.
Most of all, Korea University College of Medicine faculty, the ‘Avengers,’ stand out most. Avengers refer to the professors who work around the clock in order to save the country by guiding relevant institutions into the right direction. To name a few, Woo-Ju Kim, professor of infectious diseases, played a pivotal role by making an accurate forecast of the progress of COVID-19 from the beginning. As a cool-headed leading scientist of infection in Korea, he wisely guided the general public out of confusion by informing them of what they should know in order to properly cope with challenges in daily life. He previously served as a special aid to the prime minister and a task force team leader of the Ministry of Welfare during the MERS crisis in 2015. Professor Jang-Wook Sohn is another hero. Since March 3, he frequently went down to the Daegu Gyeongbuk region in order to help establish a solid system of epidemic prevention and efficient operation of the Daegu Gyeongbuk Care Center Number 2, as well as setting up diagnostic guidelines and processes for them. He also runs training programs for the government personnel on site. It was said that he delivered balanced feedback for an effective and convenient smart monitoring system, which was installed for those living in the care center. In an effort to deliver the right COVID-19-related information to the general public, professor Won-Seok Choi gave a generous consent to requests for interviews with the mass media despite his busy schedule. There are also a number of graduates of KUCM who render their portion of outstanding services for the sake of community.
Jae-Wook Choi, chairman of the Science Verification Committee of the Korean Medical Association and professor of preventive medicine; and Byung-Chul Chun, professor of preventive medicine who did an outstanding job of controlling MERS years ago have been on the forefront of educating the general public on how to prevent further spread of COVID-19. A research team led by Man-Seong Park and Jin-Won Kim, professors of microbiology succeeded in separating the COVID-19 virus from the patients infected with COVID-19. Taking advantage of the high-performance next-generation sequencing approach that they established on their own, they completed the assessment of the whole sequencing of the virus and registered the virus name on the public data base as BetaCoV/South Korea/KUMC01/2020, BetaCoV/South Korea/KUMC02/2020. Besides, led by Chae-Seung Lim professor of laboratory medicine, Biogenetech (a subsidiary of the Korea University Guro Hospital) successfully developed a new technology of ‘COVID-19 High-Speed Multiple Molecular Diagnostics’ which enables very economical and fast detection of virus as well as diagnosis of various infectious diseases.
HSP90A inhibition promotes anti-tumor immunity by reversing multi-modal resistance and stem-like property of immune-refractory tumors
A research team led by Dr. Tae Woo Kim, a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular biology / Biomedical Science department, Korea University College of Medicine, presents a new target for overcoming resistance to immunotherapy, which may shed new light on potential causes of therapeutic resistance.
Comprehensive pharmacogenomic characterization of gastric cancer
Gastric cancer is among the most lethal human malignancies. Previous studies have identified potential genetic alterations that can be used as therapeutic targets in gastric cancer treatment. However, several challenges prevent clinical success of current targeted therapy. Notably, gastric cancer has multiple genetic alterations, making it difficult to decide which target is the most ideal choice.
Therefore, According to the team’s study led by Professor Jason Kyungha Sa of Cancer genomics / Biomedical Science department, Korea University College of Medicine, we generated patient-derived tumor cell models that have been tested with 60 different anticancer drugs and performed genetic analysis to explore gene-drug associations. Interestingly, we identified tumor-type specific drug sensitivity based on histological, pathological, and genetic classifications. For example, diffuse-type gastric tumors were more sensitive to VEGFR pathway targeting drugs, while signet ring-type gastric tumors were more sensitive to EGFR pathway targeting drugs.
We also found that tumors with ALK mutation could potential be more sensitive to WNT pathway targeting drugs. We also discovered that tumors with PIK3CA mutation, specifically with E542K amino acid change, were significantly more sensitive to AK targeting drug, AZD5363. Lastly, we found that RNF11 gene was significantly associated with drug response to EGFR pathway targeting drug, gefitinib. Collectively, our results show possibility of precision medical treatment through combining high-throughput drug screening with genetic analysis.