The Korea-EU Magneto-tactic bacteria consortium is a group of research institutes, academia and industry sponsored by the Korean National Research Council of Science and Technology (NST) with the aim to exploit the advantages of magneto-tactic bacteria (MTB) for application targeted drug delivery (TDD).

In TDD, one tries to release therapeutic compounds in the body at the right location and at the right time. By doing so, one can increase the efficacy of therapeutic treatment (chemotherapy), cure diseases that cannot be treated yet (e.g. degenerative diseases) and reduce patient trauma by avoiding surgical operations. TDD will be instrumental to keep the cost of healthcare under control, which is crucial in developed societies with an aging population.

TDD is a highly multi-disciplinary field, requiring expertise from very diverse area’s such as biomedicine, nanorobotics, microbiology, materials science and electrical engineering. Experts from these diverse area’s do not commonly interact on a regular basis. A pro-active initiative is therefore critical.

The focus of this project is on application of micro-organisms in TDD, in particular the species of magneto-tactic bacteria. In the last decade, the research into MTB has increased tremendously. The genetic code responsible for the magneto-some formation has been unravelled, and MTB can now be cultivated in large volumes. The next step will be application, primarily in the biomedical field. The center of mass of the MTB research community lies in Europe (France, Germany). In Korea, this field is relatively unknown. Therefore, the second motivation for this research cluster is to share the knowledge and know-how present in Europe in the area of MTB to Korea.