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Professor Shin Jeon-soo

Professor Shin Jeon-soo and Professor Cheon Jin-woo’s Joint Research Team Publishes Research Results in Nature Materials

‘Nano Switch’ Controlling Cancer Cell Death Developed

Nano technology controlling cellular activity was developed by a research team at Yonsei University led by Prof. Cheon Jin-woo (Chemistry) and Prof. Shin Jeon-soo. The results of the research were published in the online version of Nature Materials, a globally renowned academic journal in nano technology, on October 7, 2012.
The research team developed a nano magnet which regulates cellular activity. The globular shaped nano magnet is around 15 nanometers in size. These antibody-conjugated magnets can target certain cells and can be attached to a switching device. This magnetic switch in its ‘On mode’– when a magnetic field is applied to aggregate magnetic nanoparticle¬bound cells–promotes apoptosis signaling pathways. In this case, the study was conducted targeting Death receptor 4 (DR4) to induce cancer cell death. According to the experiment using cancer cells, it is possible to selectively send signals using the nano switch to create a magnetic field even in micrometers.


The experiment conducted on zebra fish, known to be the simplest form of vertebrate, proved that regulation of cell death through signaling with a nano switch was possible. Evident changes in the zebra fish were observed.
The nano switch is an innovative technology which can effectively control cellular activity in a specific area in the desired time. Another advantage is that since it uses magnetic fields, it is also harmless to the human body.
The nano switch technology has further possibilities of application because it is fundamentally a target-oriented antibody which can not only kill cancer cells, but control other cellular activity as well with the right technological development.


The research was a collaborative project led by Prof. Cheon Jin-woo (Chemistry), Prof. Shin Jeon-soo and Prof. Park Seung-woo (Medicine) supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea.

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