Embryonic Stem Cell Researcher Hwang Cancels Press Conference

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Embryonic Stem Cell Researcher Hwang Cancels Press Conference Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 4, 2005

Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Embattled human cloning scientist Hwang Woo-Suk canceled a planned press conference for Sunday where he was expected to elaborate on his cover-up of two female junior scientists who donated their eggs for his research.

Earlier Hwang, who publicly apologized over the scandal two weeks ago, promised to reveal "everything" about their egg donations and to respond to allegations by a South Korean television station that he fabricated the results of some of his embryonic stem cell research.

Roh Sung-Il of Miz Medi Hospital, who has admitted to purchasing eggs from women for Hwang’s research, said Hwang’s press conference would be delayed several days later on Hwang’s request.

Roh told the Yonhap news agency that Hwang postponed the press conference because he needed "internal coordination" within his stem cell research team.

He said the exact day of the press conference would be announced once Hwang, who has been in seclusion at a Buddhist temple in a remote part of the country, could talk with his other scientists.

Hwang has been avoiding contact with the media since South Korea television station MBC ran an investigative story alleging he lied about the results of his research. MBC interviewed members of Hwang’s team, some of whom said that was the case.

However, since the news reports, MBC has been under protest by South Korea citizens, who hold Hwang up as a national hero because of the international acclaim he’s received. Some advertisers at the station have withdrawn their ads in protest of the news reports.

Still, MBC plans to broadcast another program critical of Hwang but would not say when.

The producers said they believed a study by Hwang’s team could be flawed. In the study, published earlier this year in the periodical Science, Hwang detailed how the team took skin cells from donors to produce tailor-made embryonic stem cells.

“The stem cells provided to us by Hwang’s team did not always match the donor from which they were supposed to have come, based on DNA testing,” Choi Seung-ho, a chief producer at MBC, told a news conference.

Choi said the network was “not 100% sure” of its results, but testing done by independent labs on cells provided by Hwang’s team indicated that the donor’s DNA and the DNA of the stem cell line did not match in a few cases.