by Steven Ertelt
July 19, 2006
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Hwang Woo-suk and six other researchers who engaged in faking the entirety of their embryonic stem cell research and human cloning studies saw the South Korean government strip them of national medals the nation previously awarded them.
Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook signed off on the decision in a Cabinet meeting with top government officials.
"The government has decided to take back what was given to Hwang and his colleagues, for their stem-cell research was bogus," Min Jin-kee, who is in charge of decorations at the prime minister’s office, told the Korean Herald newspaper.
The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs made the announcement last weekend about losing the medals after the Science Ministry requested the revocation.
Aside from Hwang, who has been the major figure in the international scandal, the other scientists losing their medals included a handful of those who signed their names to the two falsified research papers claiming broad 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, all lost their medals.
Another scientist, a Hanyang University professor, did as well.
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.
Hwang and his colleagues received the medals after a faked paper was published in Science in 2004.