Scientists Leave International Stem Cell Research Program Over Ethics Abuses

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scientists Leave International Stem Cell Research Program Over Ethics Abuses

Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 15, 2005

Seoul, South Korea ( — Revelations that human cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk used eggs from a member of his research team in experiments are causing an international impact. In addition to a key partner stepping down, other scientists say they will no longer with Hwang and his new international embryonic stem cell bank.

The World Stem Cell Hub foundation was planning to be based in Seoul but open affiliated branches in San Francisco and London. But American scientists involved in the effort are beginning to back out.

The San Francisco-based Pacific Fertility Clinic, which said in January it would help Hwang collect eggs for research, has said it will no longer be involved in the project. According to an AP report, the clinic has severed all ties with Hwang.

The Children’s Neurobiological Solutions Foundation also said it was putting hold a grant application from Hwang.

"These are very serious claims being made," said Shane Smith, science director of the nonprofit. Smith told AP the grant request was for an amount that exceeded the maximum of $75,000 the foundation normally gives.

Two leading stem cell teams at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco and the California panel created by Proposition 71 to spend $6 billion in taxpayer funds on embryonic stem cell research have also decline to participate with Hwang.

The Harvard University Stem Cell Institute also suspended a possible collaboration with the international stem cell hub, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

University of Pittsburgh cloning researcher Gerald Schatten was the first to step down following the revelations of the ethical violations. He was Hwang’s top American partner and slated to be the director of the international stem cell bank.