Clinical trials that are necessary for ensuring drug effectiveness and safety are a hurdle that must be cleared before a new medication hits the market. However, performing them on humans would be the most ideal, given the importance of strict ethical standards, patient availability, and limited funding. In addition, it is critical to minimize the difference between human and animal disease models in order to accurately verify the effectiveness of the medicament being tested.
Currently, a POSTECH research team led by Professor Sanguk Kim and Ph.D. candidate Doyeon Ha (Department of Life Sciences) has developed a technology to select genes from animal models to accurately mimic human diseases. These findings, which have been recently published in Nucleic Acids Research, an authoritative journal in the field of functional genomics, are expected to assist develop new drugs and effective therapeutics by constructing more precise animal models.
Using large data, the research team analyzed large-scale disease symptoms observed in human and mouse models. Unlike conventional studies that aimed at a genomic sequence of orthologous genes across several species, this study focused on tissue-specific gene expression patterns and their gene regulatory networks.
When the gene regulatory network of two species differs between human and mouse models, the target gene''s mutation model is inadequate for studying the human disease. Furthermore, reexamining the rewiring of regulatory networks in human and mouse models helps select an animal model that mimics the human disease with greater accuracy.
According to Professor Sanguk Kim, using this technology, we can predict the success or failure of animal disease models before developing them, and assist in developing more effective new drugs by better understanding disease mechanisms.
The research was carried out with the assistance of the Medical Device Innovation Center and the Graduate School of Artificial Intelligence at POTSECH, as well as the Mid-career Researcher Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea.