With the specialization of biology, brain science, medical science, and IT/NT, KAIST has accumulated academic capability in the area of biology. The College of Life Science and Bioengineering was founded to efficiently support the fusion research environment of KI for Biocentury at KAIST.
The College of Life Science and Bioengineering is composed of the Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Bio & Brain Engineering, and Graduate School of Medical Science & Engineering. The college pursues multidisciplinary education & research in the area of biology and the development of modern science through the fusion of the IT & NT foundation techniques for the development of the nation’s biological science and technology.
The Department of Biological Sciences fosters scientists and engineers of life science and biotechnology equipped with creative research skills to lead in the development of science and technology in the area of biological sciences and excellent scientists equipped with future oriented thinking and a holistic personality.
The multidisciplinary Department of Bio & Brain Engineering fosters a creative workforce that is capable of creating new knowledge and techniques in the fusion areas of electronics, computers, and nanotechnology based on biomedical science.
The Graduate School of Medical Science & Engineering is catered to doctors (specialists), graduates from medical schools, dental schools, and schools of oriental medicine for the development of new medicine and medical devices. The Graduate School of Medical Science & Engineering was established with the purpose of developing life sciences and medical technology and fostering a high-quality workforce equipped with a multidisciplinary knowledge in basic medicine, life science, and biomedical engineering, as well as research experience.
Autophagy contributes to the homeostasis of a cell and recently another function of autophagy has been reported. A KAIST research team found that the autophagy of dendritic cells supports T-cell anticancer activity.
Autophagy is a process of maintaining cell homeostasis by removing cellular waste and damaged cellular organelles; nevertheless, its role in the presentation of phagocytized tumor-associated antigens remains vague.
Meanwhile, dendritic cells are the ones that recognize pathogens or cancer antigens, and induce immune responses in T cells. When cancer cells are killed by radiation or an anticancer drug, dendritic cells absorb and remove them and present antigens on their surface to transfer them to T-cells.
Professor Heung Kyu Lee from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering and his team found that the autophagy of dendritic cells plays a key role in T-cell activation and they proposed the principles of enhancing anti-cancer effects.
Their experiments showed that T-cell activation of dendritic cells as well as anticancer immune response dropped when there is a deficiency of Atg5 (autophagy-related) in dendritic cells.
Interestingly, Atg5-deficient dendritic cells significantly elevated receptor CD36 on the surface of the cells, which increased the phagocytosis of apoptotic tumor cells yet restricted the activation of T-cells.
At this time, when introducing antibodies into the system in order to block the receptor CD36, the anti-tumor T-cell response increased substantially while tumor growth declined.
Professor Lee said, “This study allowed us to explore the role of autophagy in the anti-cancer immune response of T-cells. We look forward to developing targeted anti-cancer therapies using the receptor CD36.”
This research was published in Autophagy (10.1080/15548627.2019.1596493) on March 22, 2019.
(Mechanism of autophagy in dendritic cells)
(A role of autophagy in dendritic cells )
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