by Steven Ertelt
December 15, 2005
Seoul, South Korea(LifeNews.com) — A leading member of South Korean human cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk’s research team says the embryonic stem cell research paper his team submitted to the journal Science was fabricated.
The paper highlighted Hwang’s team’s claim that they had successfully cloned patient-specific embryonic stem cells that would avoid a key problem associated with them — that they will be rejected by patient’s immune systems.
Roh Sung-il, chairman of the board at Mizmedi Hospital and one of the co-authors of the article, told KBS television that Hwang agreed to withdraw the paper from the medical journal because most of the stem cells the team claimed to have cloned were fake.
Roh is the doctor who admitted he purchased eggs from women for Hwang’s research, a practice considered unethical because it pressures women.
Another doctor on Hwang’s team told the South Korean television station Hwang pressured junior researchers to fabricate photos to make it appear more patient-specific stem cells had been produced.
"This is something I shouldn’t have done,” the researcher, identified only by his last name Kim to protect his identity, admitted to KBS. "I had no choice but to do it.”
Roh added that nine of the supposed 11 embryonic stem cell lines the paper claims were created were fake.
According to an Associated Press report, Roh said Hwang told him today that none of the embryonic stem cells remain from the experiment because they all died in the lab.
Roh told MBC: "I thought Professor Hwang Woo-suk was the only person who could settle the latest controversy, but after hearing something so different, I decided to make an announcement thinking there shouldn’t be any more of people’s doubts, waste and distress.”
Hwang is still staying at the hospital at Seoul National University, where he is being treated for stress and a stomach ulcer. He is a veterinary professor at the college.
Hwang’s former top partner, University of Pittsburgh researcher Gerald Schatten, asked Science this week to withdraw his name from the paper because he believed the research has been falsified.
Schatten stepped down as Hwang’s partner shortly before Hwang admitted he lied about egg donations from two female junior researchers.