Hwang’s Embryonic Stem Cells Were Not Patient-Specific, SNU Says

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 29, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Hwang’s Embryonic Stem Cells Were Not Patient-Specific, SNU Says Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 29, 2005

Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Officials at Seoul National University released more information about their probe on Thursday that is examining the falsified embryonic stem cell research conducted by Hwang Woo-Suk’s team. Roe Jung-hye, the university’s dean of research affairs, told reporters that none of the embryonic stem cells Hwang’s team claimed to have cloned were patient matches.

Roe said the cells Hwang claimed to have made were from fertilized eggs and not specifically matched to patients.

The finding is crucial because it means Hwang’s team was never successful in producing cells to overcome a patient’s immune system rejecting embryonic stem cell transplants. That’s one of the biggest reasons why the controversial research has yet to cure any patients.

"The panel couldn’t find stem cells that match patients’ DNA regarding the 2005 paper and it believes that Hwang’s team didn’t secure scientific data to prove that (stem cells) were made," Roe said, according to an AP report.

"We have asked three independent labs to conduct DNA tests on the samples, and all three came out with the same conclusion," she said. "None of the stem cells were patient-specific. They were all fertilized-egg stem cells from MizMedi," the hospital where one of Hwang’s colleagues provided eggs for research.

"According to our judgment, Dr. Hwang’s team doesn’t have scientific data to prove that it has produced such stem cells," she added.

Last Friday the SNU probe indicated nine of the 11 embryonic stem cell lines Hwang’s team document in its article published in the medical journal Science were faked. It is still looking at the remaining two lines and indicates are they are not authentic either.

The probe results thus far make it appear that Hwang’s team didn’t produce patient-specific embryonic stem cells but may never have cloned human embryos either.

The probe seems to indicate now that Hwang didn’t just grossly exaggerate the successes of his embryonic stem cell research but he completely fabricated the research and results.

Last week, Hwang apologized for some of the fabrications but claimed his research was still authentic. He stepped down from his position as veterinary medicine professor at SNU.