Stem cell breakthrough a lie

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The latest revelations are a setback for research into stem cells, master cells that can grow into any body tissue. Creating patient-specific stem cells would be a breakthrough because they would not be rejected by patients’ individual immune systems. Scientists hope to someday use such cells to cure Alzheimer’s, diabetes and paralysis. “The bottom line is that it’s a major disaster to our whole field because the expectations were so high and now we are back to square one,” said Joseph Itskovitz, a stem cell researcher and director of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel. Hwang’s whereabouts were unknown, and he could not immediately be reached for comment. A mobile phone number he gave to journalists has been changed. Hwang bolted to international fame last year when he published an article in Science claiming that he had created the world’s first cloned human embryo and extracted stem cells from it. This year, he and his research team published an article in the journal Nature claiming they had produced the world’s first cloned dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy. SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea’s top university said Thursday that a leading researcher fabricated all of the stem cells he said were cloned from individual patients – a shattering blow to the disgraced scientist’s reputation as a medical pioneer. The conclusion continued the erosion of Hwang Woo-suk’s once-vaunted reputation as a leader in the field of cloning who held the key to breakthroughs for hard-to-treat diseases. A panel from Seoul National University investigating Hwang’s work said last week at least nine of the 11 patient-specific stem cell lines reported this year in the journal Science were fabricated. On Thursday, the panel said the remaining two were also faked. “The panel couldn’t find stem cells that match patients’ DNA regarding the 2005 paper, and it believes that Hwang’s team doesn’t have scientific data to prove that (such stem cells) were made,” Roe Jung-hye, the university’s dean of research affairs, told reporters. Those breakthroughs – which are now also under suspicion – catapulted the veterinarian, dubbed “The Pride of Korea,” into the role of national hero. The government responded with pledges of massive financial support. But trouble began for Hwang last month when he admitted, after more than a year of denial, that he had used eggs donated by lab workers, in violation of ethics guidelines. He also acknowledged that some of the eggs he used were bought. He had claimed that all the eggs were donated. Then this month, a former colleague alleged that at least nine of the stem cell lines that Hwang said he had created through cloning were faked. He did not elaborate on the charge, but the accusation sparked an investigation by Hwang’s university. Last Friday, after the university’s disclosure that at least nine stem cell lines were faked, Hwang, 53, apologized for the fabrication and stepped down as professor at the university. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more