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  • Title : HUMC leads the microbiome research for liver diseases
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  • The Institute for Liver and Digestive Diseases (ILDD) of Hallym University Medical Center is emerging as one of the nation’s leading institutions for microbiome research by publishing a paper on suppressing the progression of fatty liver in an international journal early this year. It received a huge amount of research grants from the government.

    Microbiome is a word made from a combination of “microbe” and “biome”, which refers to a microbial ecosystem existing within our bodies. Through microbiome studies, one can understand the principle behind the creation of germs in our body, and analyze the disease occurrence. The information generated from the study is widely used for researches on incurable diseases as well as for new drug development.

    Led by Prof. Dong Joon Kim, Prof. Ki Tae Suk, and Prof. Gwang-ho Baik of Gastroenterology & Hepatology in addition to Prof. Min Jea Shin and Prof. Ki-soo Yoon of the Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology at Hallym University, a group of scholars are actively conducting research on various digestive diseases at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Diseases. The research team is particularly focusing on microbiome research with the aim of developing a fundamental cure for fatty liver and liver cirrhosis.

    By publishing their research titled ‘Lactobacillus and Pediococcus ameliorate progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease through modulation of the gut microbiome’ in an international journal, Gut Microbes, this January, they made a significant progress in developing medication for liver disease using microbiome. Also, ILDD has been selected as one of the Key Research Institutes in Universities of the year 2020, which was hosted by the Ministry of Education and organized by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF). It will receive a research budget of 6.3 billion won in total over the next nine years.

    “We have discovered a drug candidate using microbiome research, and now we are in the process of developing diagnostic technology,” said Prof. Dong Joon Kim. “The government’s financial support will help us to expand, promote and speed up the clinical trial,” he added.

    The Institute for Liver and Digestive Diseases forecasts that once the research produces fruitful results, liver disease diagnosis will become easier and faster, which will eventually lead to successful development and commercialization of a fundamental cure for liver diseases.

    By Chul Kwon, Int’l Cooperation Team, HUMC (