by Steven Ertelt
December 13, 2006
Seoul, South Korea (LifeNews.com) — Hwang Woo-Suk became the international laughingstock of the scientific community when his embryonic stem cell research was found to be completely fraudulent. He and some of his colleagues could go to jail over charges of embezzlement, but they’re moving ahead with new cloning efforts.
Hwang is making a quiet comeback in a new cloning lab he set up 35 miles south of Seoul in Yongin where some of his former Seoul National University research team members are helping him.
They are conducting animal cloning with the intent of creating animal organ transplants that can be used in treating humans.
"He is working with some 30 researchers there, mostly junior researchers who worked with Hwang [at SNU]," Hwang lawyer Lee Geon-Haeng told AFP.
Cloning expert Park Se-Pill told the French press agency about the specifics of Hwang’s new research.
"Hwang is working on producing animal hearts from cloned pigs for human transplant," Park said.
Park said Hwang’s team had "unrivaled" cloning technologies and said South Korea "must not allow Hwang’s technology to go down the drain."
Hwang is limited to animal cloning after South Korea revoked his license to conduct embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. However, he said in November that he wants to resume such research.
"Hwang wants to work on human embryonic stem cells again. He seems to think that creating patient-specific stem cells is the only way to apologize for all the stir he has caused,’’ Lee said last month.
"He has confidence that he could create the cells in about half a year should he and his men be allowed to do so,’’ Lee added.
The lab has been bankrolled by Hwang’s friends and the legion of supporters in South Korea that continue to back the embattled scientist despite his problems.
Those backers, ignoring the faked research and allegations that Hwang pressured two junior scientists to donate their eggs for his studies, claim the South Korean government is unfairly persecuting the scientist.