SEOUL, South Korea, Jan. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Some of the greatest challenges that scientists face today surround human health and well-being. Diseases such as cancer are claiming more victims than ever before and scientists are dedicating their lives to help us understand and overcome them. Environmental stresses are deteriorating our quality of life, thereby increasing the incidence of many diseases. Yonsei University is encouraging research groups to work on solutions to combat diseases, improve quality of life, and enhance human understanding.

In South Korea, one in three people die from cancer mainly owing to recurrence and metastasis. A collaborative effort between four research Institutes has revealed the mechanism behind survival of metastatic cancer cells. Published in Nature Communications, the study shows that cancer cells increase their metastatic potential by inhibiting the expression of a key metabolic gene phosphofructokinase, platelet (PFKP) through a particular protein called 'Snail,' resulting in their own metabolic reprogramming and survival during cancer metastasis. These findings open the door for new treatment options with a metabolic target that can prevent cancer recurrence and metastasis.

A team led by Prof. Boyoun Park from the Department of Systems Biology at Yonsei University found that cellular nucleic acid-binding protein (CNBP), a key protein in forebrain development, regulates immune responses and provides insights into the molecular pathologies of autoimmune diseases and various cancers. They proved that CNBP acts as a key transcriptional regulator of sustained expression of interleukin 6, an important factor for the development of cells that fight infections. Their results are expected to facilitate the development of improved therapeutic strategies for cancers and autoimmune diseases.    

We have been trying to cure cancer for decades. Increasingly indulgent lifestyles and viral infections such as Hepatitis B and C drastically increase the chances of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that often invades and blocks the portal vein, causing portal vein tumor thrombosis (PVTT).  This research group from the Yonsei University College of Medicine investigated the best therapeutic approach for patients with both HCC and PVTT, who only survive for about 3 months. Their findings indicate that radiotherapy at an optimal dose of over 45 Gy (Gray, the unit of measure for radiation) combined with other therapies such as removing a part of the liver, liver transplant, or injecting an agent to prevent blood flow to the tumor offers patients the best hope for improved, increased survival.

Research by a collaborative team of medical and engineering researchers from Yonsei University promises us a future wherein a chronic injury can be treated as easily as a minor cut or scrape. The group has developed stem cell sheets with excellent wound healing properties for chronic injuries. These sheets are manufactured using adipose-derived stem cells and conductive polymers. The group is currently waiting for the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) to approve the therapy for a clinical trial.

In addition to improving human health and well-being, scientists from Yonsei University have also enhanced our understanding of the universe. Astrophysicists from Yonsei have used theoretical predictions from phase space analyses to compare with observed data and demonstrated consistent behavior patterns for galaxies. Researchers from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Yonsei are also making breakthroughs to make human life easier in the digital age. They have developed a fast, efficient, and innovative algorithm, called DASC, which can match two images taken in very different conditions. The algorithm outperforms conventional approaches and will be an essential tool for futuristic applications that require automated matching for multi-modal and multi-spectral images.

Although most of the research from Yonsei University is geared to help the entire species, social scientists are focusing on the local population. A research group from the Graduate School of Information highlighted differences in usage patterns and motivations of South Korean social media users. Another group from the Department of Public Administration elucidated that central governments are more effective at long-term projects involving uncertainty, whereas local governments with higher accountability are better at short-term projects to increase public satisfaction or awareness.

Please visit Yonsei University Research Archives to know about multiple other scientific advances.

About Yonsei University

After introducing modern higher education over a century ago, Yonsei University has emerged as South Korea's top private university and ranks among the world's most prestigious universities. It has been the driving force behind Korea's economic and political growth, and it continues lead the way in forward-thinking research and education for a changing society. The university has 3 campuses (in Sinchon, Songdo, and Wonju) comprising 21 colleges, 19 graduate schools, and 120 research centers, where an administrative staff of over 1000 and more than 5000 local and international professors cater to the needs of 37,000+ students. Please visit for more details.   

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