Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

South Korean Stem Cell Scientist Goes On Trial

Thursday, June 22, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

Reuters, and all major news sources, are carrying articles on the start of the trial in South Korea of disgraced stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk on charges of fraud and embezzlement. If found guilty of any of the charges against him, he will almost certainly be facing a lengthy jail term.

South Korean Stem Cell Scientist Goes On Trial

Hwang was indicted last month after prosecutors said he was the mastermind of an elaborate scheme to manipulate research results to make it look like his team had actually produced stem cell lines through cloning human embryos.

His reported breakthroughs in stem cell research had raised hopes because it seemed to hasten the day when genetically specific tissue could be grown from embryonic stem cells to repair damaged organs or treat diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Prosecutors charged Hwang with misusing and embezzling 2.8 billion won ($2.91 million) in state funds and private donations.

Hwang is suspected of using part of the funds to purchase human ova -- in violation of a bioethics law that went into effect in 2005 -- and for donations to politicians, they said.

Hwang did not speak with reporters upon entering the Seoul Central District Court.

The scientist has previously said that he is a victim of a conspiracy to discredit him and has blamed junior researchers at a fertility clinic that took part in the research for the fake data.

The man once hailed by the government and others as "the pride of Korea" could face several years in jail if he is found guilty.

Prosecutors have said the misuse of state funds carries a jail term of up to 10 years while a violation of the bioethics law can mean up to three years behind bars.


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