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Kang Choon Lee

Kang Choon Lee

Title: Perspective of TRAIL and PEGylated TRAIL


Kang Choon Lee is Haengdan Distinguished Professor at the SungKyunKwan University (SKKU), Korea, and was Director of the Center of Excellence for Future Pharmaceutical Education and Research in the College of Pharmacy at SKKU. He served as a Professor and Dean at the College of Pharmacy as well as the Director of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science. Prior to joining SKKU in 1992, he was a Principal Scientist at Dong-A Pharmaceutical Co. for ten years before joining Chonnam
National University as a Professor of Pharmacy. For over 30 years, his Drug Targeting Laboratory has focused on immuno-targeting including immunotoxins, preformulation
and bioconjugation of peptide and protein drugs. He is internationally recognized as one of the leading experts in site-specific peptide/protein PEGylation and firstly
demonstrated the therapeutic potential of novel site-specific PEGylated drugs such as GLP-1 and TRAIL. He served as President of the Korean-American Pharmaceutical
Scientists Association and Vice-president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Korea and Korean Society of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology. He is a recipient of the
Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award from the Pharmaceutical Society of Korea in 2002 and honored as a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical
Scientists (AAPS) in 2003. He currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of many international scientific journals including Pharmaceutical Research, Pharmaceutical
Development and Technology, PharmSciTech, Journal of Drug Delivery and Heliyon. For clinically translating and commercializing of site-specific PEGylated peptide/
protein drugs developed by his laboratory, he co-founded B&L DeliPharm, Korea and Theraly Pharmaceuticals, USA.


TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the TNF cytokine family capable of inducing apoptosis by
its cognate receptors in cancer cells without apparent toxicity to normal cells. TRAIL has been considered as an anticancer
drug due to its unique ability to selectively induce DR-mediated apoptosis in transformed cells. To date, recombinant human
TRAIL and antibodies directed against TRAIL-R1 or TRAIL-R2 have been tested clinically. However, these have been
disappointing, showing a very limited benefit as an antitumor agent basically due to their poor agonistic activity of these
agents. And in recent years, the physiological importance of TRAIL has expanded beyond being a tumoricidal molecule to
one critical for a number of clinical settings - ranging from fibrosis and autoimmunity to cardiovascular anomalies. In an
attempt to overcome the poor agonistic activity and also low stability and solubility of rTRAIL in vivo, we developed a delivery
system by using PEGylation. PEGylation of protein improves solubility, reduces the interaction with blood cells and serum
proteins, provides a better biocompatibility, and extends circulation times. We recently confirmed the therapeutic efficacy of
this prolonged systemic TRAIL in vivo on different animal models. In this talk, I will introduce how our research experience,
at the crossroads of bioconjugation, drug delivery, and biology, enabled the engineering of stable TRAIL-based therapies,
the discovery of clinically viable targets for cancer, inflammatory, fibrosis and autoimmune disease therapy towards clinical