by Steven Ertelt
October 24, 2006
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Embattled research Hwang Woo-suk, who became an international laughingstock within the scientific community when the world learned he and his team faked their embryonic stem cell research, says he can prove that some of it was genuine.
Part of his teams claims include saying he was the first to have cloned patient-specific embryonic stem cells.
The claim was important because it supposedly marked the first time embryonic stem cells had been derived that would overcome immune system rejection issues. Otherwise, the cells will not work to cure or treat patients.
On trial for charges that he embezzled millions of dollars in private and public funds for research, Hwang claimed he can prove that his team successfully cloned the stem cells.
However, in order to prove his claims, he indicated he needs to get the stem cells samples form the research from a former partner, Moon Shin-Young, who has refused to return them.
"We may seek a court injunction to compel professor Moon to return the samples so that we can prove the production of the first human stem cells was genuine," Hwang’s lawyer Jung Keun-Hwa told AFP about the cells.
Hwang also said that he never ordered two junior scientists on his team to lie about the failed research.
"It sounds like fiction," he said when asked if he told colleagues to lie.
After revelations surfaced that the embryonic stem cell research Hwang’s team conducted was fabricated, analysis from Seoul National University, where the team was based, independent labs and the South Korean government confirmed the research was not authentic. The papers his team printed about the research in a scientific journal were revoked.
SNU fired Hwang and other members of his team and five other scientists have been indicted in connection with the fraudulent research and charges of embezzlement.
Hwang, who is still popular with some South Koreans, has set up a private lab funded with private dollars. There, he will continue animal cloning experiments.
The cloning of the Afghan hound Snuppy was the only success Hwang’s team had, although it involved the deaths of hundreds of dog embryos to birth him.