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Korean researchers develop cell culture technique for human lung cells

New technique to help clinical tests regarding various respiratory infections, including COVID-19: KAIST

From left: Ju Young-seok from KAIST, Lee Joo-hyeon from the University of Cambridge, Choi Byeong-sun from the Korea National Institute of Health, Koh Gou-young from the Institute for Basic Science and Kim Young-tae from Seoul National University Hospital (KAIST)
From left: Ju Young-seok from KAIST, Lee Joo-hyeon from the University of Cambridge, Choi Byeong-sun from the Korea National Institute of Health, Koh Gou-young from the Institute for Basic Science and Kim Young-tae from Seoul National University Hospital (KAIST)


A group of South Korean researchers has developed a 3D-based cell culture technique for human lung alveolar cells that become targets of COVID-19 infection, according to Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Monday.

KAIST professor Ju Young-seok, who was on the research team, said the cell culture technique could artificially produce cells that mirror the cellular physiology and pathology of human lung alveolar cells. The technique would help other researchers to characterize pathogenesis of COVID-19 in detail, he added.

The team said the recent invention could accelerate developments of vaccines and therapeutics for the COVID-19 pandemic as researchers would no longer have to carry out tests on laboratory animals or cells derived from them.

“The culture technique will allow researchers to conduct tests on a wide range of respiratory infections,” Ju added.

The research has been co-conducted by professors Lee Joo-hyeon from University of Cambridge, Ju Young-seok from KAIST, Choi Byeong-sun from the Korea National Institute of Health, Koh Gou-young from Institute for Basic Science, Kim Young-tae from Seoul National University Hospital and other researchers from Korean startup company GENOMEinSIGHT.

Their research paper, titled “Three-dimensional human alveolar stem cell culture models reveal infection response to SARS-CoV-2,” has been published on peer-reviewed scientific journal Cell Stem Cell on Thursday last week.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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