Korean Stem Cell Scandal Worsens

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The investigating committee at Seoul National University has determined that stem cell researcher, Hwang Woo Suk, produced no patient specific stem cell lines. This means that the entire paper in Science claiming that Hwang's lab had created 11 patient specific stem cell lines was faked. Now doubts are being raised about Hwang's other research including his claim to have created the first cloned human embryonic stem cell line in 2004.

Besides giving a black eye to stem cell research, Hwang's fakery has dashed the hopes of thousands of patients worldwide. In an editorial, the Korean newspaper, The Chosun Ilbo, captures the heartbreak felt by patients who believed in Hwang's research:

Intriguing though the mystery may be, the frustration of patients who pinned their hopes on a stem cell cure must be unbearable. A 12-year-old boy suffering from spinal paralysis who offered his cells to Hwang's team is said to have asked his father Kim Je-eon, "Will I never be able to stand up again?" Our country has 100,000 diabetic children and 130,000 spinal paralysis patients. It was they and their families who spread azaleas in front of Prof. Hwang's laboratory when it seemed he was the victim of a slanderous campaign, pleading with him to come back and continue the work that had galvanized their hopes.

Again, shame on you Hwang Woo Suk!

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  1. I continue to get the impression that HWS is/was the only stem-cell researcher on the planet. Is he? Does all research now end? Is all hope now lost for the unfortunate potential benefactors of stem cell research? And if the research had not been (apparently) bogus, how soon would any of the patients have received any practical benefit from it?

  2. What is more puzzling is why Don Ho’s recent successful heart treatment using stem cells from his own body hasn’t received more press.

    Perhaps it’s because they weren’t derived from embryos?

  3. Some guys will do anything to pick up women.

  4. Ed: There are other stem cell researchers, but none of them are nearly as far along in producing cloned human embryonic stem cells. Hwang’s results seemed to promise rapid progress toward treatments. In fact, Hwang told me personally that he planned to start using cloned embryonic stem cells to treat patients in clinical trials before the end of 2006.

    Cap’n Holly: Don Ho’s stem cells were derived from his own angiogenic precursor stem cells. The clinical trials are ongoing and let’s hope they work out. One reason that so many look to embryonic stem cells as a promising treatment is that they can be multiplied to any desired number of cells, whereas adult stem cells are limited in the number of times that they can be multiplied. Still, all avenues of stem cell research should be pursued in order to maximize the chances of finding cures.

  5. Some guys will do anything to pick up women.

    I think it was an elaborate scheme to get women to donate their eggs, impregnate them himself, and take over the world.

  6. “Still, all avenues of stem cell research should be pursued in order to maximize the chances of finding cures.”

    The qoute mentions diabetics. I wonder what causes that exactly. Maybe there are a more pedestrian, less risky, less profitable ways to fight that disease, other than stem cell research.

  7. Yessss… Diabetes. Tricky little corn syrupses!

  8. Who sucks wang? Hwang Woo Suk!

  9. I blame this on George Bush. If he had only demanded that Congress spend my money on this research, this scandal never would have happened.

  10. Man, if Snuppy was a fake too, I’m going to be really pissed… I mean, there’s nothing cuter than a cloned Afghan hound puppy – don’t take that away from me!

  11. There is a big writeup on this issue (mentioning Bailey) over at climateaudit.
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=476#more-476

    It looks like there is at least one H&R inmate who post over there as well.

  12. I still think the Moonies are in on this somehow.

  13. You are worthress, Hwang Woo Suk!

  14. “The qoute mentions diabetics. I wonder what causes that exactly. Maybe there are a more pedestrian, less risky, less profitable ways to fight that disease, other than stem cell research.”

    Glad to see that Dave W. isn’t above a little self-deprecating humor.

  15. This thread begs the posting of a Don Ho joke I heard a few days ago.

    Apparently, there was a comedian who opened his act wearing a bright Hawaiian shirt. He begins:

    I suppose you’re all wondering if I blew Don Ho to get this shirt. Well, the answer is an unequivocal NO! I blew Don Ho because he’s a great entertainer.

  16. Ron. I’m the bigoted a**hole from your recent Atlanta event who asked you if the Koreans were for real (a question based on some unfortunate experiences I had over there many years ago). I hate it when I’m right about stuff like that. Just reinforces the stereotypes. But…on a more positive note, my daughter’s now focusing on genetics in her biomedical engineering studies…based in large measure on the book. Keep pluggin’.

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