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09/30/2019 HYU News > Academics > 이달의연구자

Title

[Excellent R&D] Stratification and Customization: A New Route Towards Curing Rare Intractable Diseases

Professor Kim Seung Hyun (College of Medicine)

오규진

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A few years ago, the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social networking services and became a popular event all around the world. People either dumped ice water on their heads or donated 100 dollars to support funds for a rare disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a disease that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles. There is still no cure on ALS, with only minor treatments being available. Here is Professor Kim Seung Hyun (College of Medicine), an individual who has devoted his medical career to finding clues to this incurable disease.
 
​Professor Kim Seung Hyun (College of Medicine) has been on the field of neuro-degenerative disorders for more than 25 years.

Kim has been working in the field of ALS and other neuro-degenerative disorders since 1993. Kim focuses on the issue of medication as he proposes a new model on the drug development process. “Most clinical trials are based on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach as they do not consider individual differences among people,” said Kim. “Even though people suffer from the same disease, they might be showing different symptoms due to genetic differences. That is why some drugs cannot be commercialized regardless of their medicinal effect on selected specimen.”
 
​Kim explained that clinical trials in ALS were headed towards 'one-size-fits-all.'
(Photo courtesy of Kim)

Kim, who has been conducting research on the unique genetic background of Korean and Asian populations, discovered that Koreans tend to have more Histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) gene mutation than people of other ethnicities. Based on these findings, Kim is now working on applying this result to the development of new pharmaceuticals. “My research aims to establish a treatment strategy with a stratified model of Lou Gehrig's Disease,” Kim said. “The next step will be the customization of treatment by prescribing and providing a remedy in accordance with one’s genetic data.”

Kim said his objective is to develop a diagnosis platform by utilizing AI technology. “I am endeavoring to build a nomogram that can tell what the patient requires, and I expect the discriminants to become more precise as time goes on.” By citing a 2016 Go match between AlphaGo and Lee Se-dol, Kim continued on. “AlphaGo’s victory attributes to effective processing of data accumulation. AI will lead to an innovative success on providing cures for rare intractable diseases just as AlphaGo read Lee Se-dol’s move and made an irresistible attack.”
 
​Kim advised students to be more versatile and challenging.

As a renowned medical researcher and top-tier specialist, Kim highlighted the importance of being versatile. “You only deal with the basics at school,” said Kim. “Things have changed and will change even faster. You need to be prepared for globalization and technological advances.” In addition, Kim encouraged students to challenge more. “When I first started as an ALS specialist at Hanyang, I had only one patient for me to work with. However, 25 years of endless effort is what made Hanyang a world-class institution in the field of neurological disorders.”



Oh Kyu-jin        alex684@hanyang.ac.kr
Photos by Kim Ju-eun

 
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