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S. Korean research team develops technology able to track down disease onset

Yonsei University professor Kim Hyong-bum (Samsung Electronics)
Yonsei University professor Kim Hyong-bum (Samsung Electronics)

A South Korean research team funded by Samsung Electronics has developed a system that can be used to calculate the time that has elapsed since the onset of disease.

The research, titled “Recording of elapsed time and temporal information about biological events using Cas9,” has been published in Cell, an international journal publishing research papers regarding life sciences.

It is the first time for research funded by Samsung Future Technology Development Project to be published in Cell, according to Samsung Electronics.

The research team, led by Yonsei University professor Kim Hyong-bum, used the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors to develop a system that is capable of tracking the onset of diseases that bring changes to DNA sequences.

The team said it used 23,940 both cultured cells and animal cells to accumulate enough data for the system.

“The research team has developed a system to measure elapsed time from onsets of diverse biological changes that take place in living organisms, in a similar way that we date rocks, artifacts and fossils with radioactive isotopes,” professor Kim said.

The new method can help researchers better understand the aging process and track how diseases develop over time, through which practitioners could also deliver timely medical treatments.

Kim has recently finished registering a patent for the new biological technology in South Korea. The professor has applied for patents in other nations, including the US, he added.

Kim’s project has been funded by the Samsung Future Technology Development Project since June 2017. It featured collaboration with other research teams led by professors Jung In-kyung, Cho Sung-rae and Park Tae-young at Yonsei University and professor Yoon Sung-roh at Seoul National University.

The Samsung Future Technology Development Project was first launched in 2013 to support local researchers. Samsung Electronics has poured a total of 1.5 trillion won into the initiative, providing 812.5 billion won for 634 research projects to date.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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