South Korea Govt May Strip Fraudulent Stem Cell Research Scientists of Medals

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 16, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Korea Govt May Strip Fraudulent Stem Cell Research Scientists of Medals Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 16, 2006

Seoul, South Korea ( — The South Korean government is expected to decide this week whether to strip the scientists who participated in the fraudulent embryonic stem cell research there of their state-issued medals of recognition for their work. Hwang Woo-suk and six other researchers may lose their state medals for having lied about their studies.

The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs made the announcement Sunday about the possible action, which the Science Ministry has requested. The Cabinet will consider the move this week.

Aside from Hwang, who has been the major figure in the international scandal, the other scientists losing their medals include a handful who signed their names to the two falsified research papers claiming brad advances in embryonic stem cell research.

Seoul National University professors Lee Byeong-chun, Kang Sung-keun, Moon Shin-yong and An Cu-rie, and MizMedi Hospital chief Roh Sung-il, who provided human eggs for Hwang’s research, stand to lose the medals.

Once the cabinet approves the revocation, the nation’s president must sign off on the decision.

Hwang’s team claimed to have cloned a human embryo and to have created patient specific embryonic stem cells. The latter claim is important because embryonic stem cells have had problems overcoming immune system rejection issues.

Had the team overcome that problem, embryonic stem cells may be more likely to someday provide cures for patients. As a result, embryonic stem cell research continues to be a long way from ever providing real hope for patients with a wide range of diseases and conditions.