[HY's Excellence] Pioneering precision medicine using the largest cohort of SLE and RA combining clinical and genetic epidemiologic research
Professor Sang-Cheol Bae (Department of Rheumatology)
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Professor Sang-Cheol Bae a Full Professor (1993~) and Distinguished Professor (2012~) of the Hanyang University; the former Director of the Hanyang University Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (2005-2019); and Director of Hanyang University Institute for Rheumatology Research (2019~), Seoul, Korea. He is known to have an authority in the medical community who won the Wunsch Medical Award in 2018 and the Paiknam Great Scholar Award in 2020 which are the most prestigious awards. He has been acknowledged for his diagnosis and treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus [SLE] and Rheumatoid Arthritis [RA] in addition to other various clinical and translational research. His illustrious career shows excellent leadership as a medical service provider. And he is taking on the roles of a full member of SLICC (Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics) (1998~), a full member of National Academy of Medicine of Korea (2011~), the president of Korean Society of SLE Research (2016~), a full member of APLC (Asia Pacific Lupus Collaboration) (2016~), Vice president of Korean Academy of Medical Sciences (2018~), a full member of Korean Academy of Science and Technology (2018~) and the elected president of 15th International Congress on SLE (2023). Based on clinical and genetic epidemiologic research with his largest SLE and RA cohorts, he is currently preparing to develop new therapeutics and personalized treatment of SLE and RA according to the causes of the disease.
In 2016, Professor Bae produced significant results related to lupus through research that was a joint effort with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) of the U.S. with the involvement of a large number of national and international university hospitals. With Koreans mainly constituting the research subjects, the genetic variant of the immune genes of a total of 17,000 patients in East Asia and those of healthy people were analyzed with high density through Immunochip platform technology, coming up with the result of identifying 10 new genes that cause lupus and specifying functional genetic variants that directly result in causing the disease. Through the research, it was confirmed that many lupus genes become genetically modified to engage in various immune mechanisms due to genetic variants. They also discovered 56 therapeutics that affect the activity of the 10 genes which can be used in the customized treatment of lupus. These drugs have been applied to the “drug repositioning concept” which means an approach to accelerate the drug discovery process through the identification of a novel clinical use for an existing drug approved for a different indication.
The large-scale SLE cohort research of Korea, China, and Japan organized by Professor Bae is still being conducted. “There are still too few research projects that focus on Asians as the subject of study. The current cohort study of Korea, China, and Japan is 13 times larger (about 220,000 people) than the previous study (about 17,000 people), and it is expected to show some notable results by the middle of this year.” He added that there is another joint international research project that he is a part of. “It is still too early to describe the research in detail, but we are planning to go beyond genetics and conduct thorough integrated analyses with epigenetics, transcriptomics, proteomics and more, hoping to perform precise assessment of patients’ prognosis, drug response, and reasons for worsening conditions.” Professor Bae is currently focusing on ensuring that SLE and RA treatment advances to the level of precise medical treatment. He explained that he is striving to realize a future medical service which can predict and prevent the occurrence of rheumatic diseases, along with targeted treatment of the disease which would be used for patients that show signs of improvement with the correct and proper amounts of medicines.
As a medical person, Professor Bae chose a path that many doctors do not take “the path of a rheumatologist” in Korea about 30 years ago. Since committing to that path, he has pioneered in precision medicine through the cohort research in Korea, which was less common at that time, studying SLE and RA which are notorious for having unclear and various causes, finding out not only their causation but also targeting treatment methods and more. The faithful and diligent mind of one pioneer has shed light on the dark path of rheumatic diseases.
Go! Hanyang WIKI : http://wiki.hanyang.ac.kr/Sang-Cheol_Bae
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