The Korea Institute of Toxicology (KIT·Chief Dr. Song, Chang-woo) National Center for Efficacy Evaluation of Respiratory Disease Product (NCER·Chief Dr. Lee, Kyu-hong) obtained on January 10 the final decision from the Ministry of Health and Welfare that the T2B Infrastructure Center for Respiratory Disease would enter into the final phase (second phase) with funding of 3 billion KRW over two years.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare assigned in 2016 the KIT Consortium (KIT, Chonbuk National University Hospital, Wonkwang University Hospital) to the NCER specialized for respiratory diseases, as a part of the T2B Infrastructure Center, and has supported a national research fund of 7.5 billion KRW for five years by establishing goals for each phase. The project consists of two phases. The goal of the first phase is to establish a world-class platform for evaluating the efficacy of respiratory disease products (three years; about 4.5 billion KRW). The goal of the second phase is to activate domestic and international platforms for the efficacy evaluation and to prepare the system for supporting domestic companies developing respiratory disease products to enter into overseas markets (two years; about 3 billion KRW).
Accordingly, the KIT established in May 2016 the NCER at the Jeonbuk Department of Inhalation Research, located at Jeongeup, and has provided a one-step solution where product efficacy evaluation, performed by an inhalation test based on Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), is connected with a toxicology evaluation and clinical study.
In particular, through the project, research and development work have been conducted actively on products and technologies for protecting the health of respiratory organs from daily living chemicals by establishing research models for humidifier sterilizers and fine dust and developing evaluation methods for the products, drugs, and health functional foods applied to pulmonary diseases such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
At the end of last year, the third year of the project, the first phase report was submitted and the examination for entering into the second phase was carried out. Progress to the second phase of the project was decided, as the successful establishment of the efficacy evaluation platform needed for the development of domestic respiratory disease products was recognized, including nonclinical toxicology tests carried out for product commercialization.
Dr. Lee Kyu-hong, the project leader, stated, “The results obtained from the projects may be applied to prevent damage from not only chronic respiratory diseases but also fine dust and hazardous materials in the living environment and to increase the R&D competitiveness for promoting the health of the citizens.” He also added, “It’s our desire to make contributions to the discovery of a new growth engine, the creation of job opportunities, and the improvement of the national welfare by facilitating the commercialization of healthcare business technologies related to respiratory diseases.”
The Jeonbuk Department of Inhalation Research of KIT is now conducting studies on identifying the causes of pulmonary damage related to humidifier sterilizers and the inhalation toxicology of cigarette smoke and chemicals. In 2011, the Jeonbuk Department of Inhalation Research identified the substances that caused pulmonary damage related to humidifier sterilizers by performing an inhalation toxicology evaluation experiment with such sterilizers.