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Thread: S.Korea TV documentary to question stem cell study

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2005

    S.Korea TV documentary to question stem cell study

    Dec 2, 2005 — By Jon Herskovitz and Lee Jin-joo
    SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean TV network intends to air a documentary questioning the authenticity of a key study by the country's pioneering stem cell scientist, who is already under pressure over ethical lapses, producers said on Friday.

    The MBC network previously broadcast a program questioning how human eggs used in the work of Hwang Woo-suk, the scientist who brought South Korea to the global forefront of stem cell and cloning research, were procured.

    MBC did not say when it would air the second program, but producers would like to broadcast it soon.

    The producers said they believed a study by Hwang's team could be flawed. In the study, published earlier this year in the periodical Science, Hwang detailed how the team took skin cells from donors to produce tailor-made embryonic stem cells.

    The research made headlines around the world amid hopes that it could eventually help lead to cures for deadly and debilitating diseases such as Parkinson's.

    "The stem cells provided to us by Hwang's team did not always match the donor from which they were supposed to have come, based on DNA testing," Choi Seung-ho, a chief producer at MBC, told a news conference.

    Officials from Hwang's team said they were not aware of the details of the MBC investigation and could not comment.

    Hwang's team has said their work was vetted by a strict and well-established system of peer review before it was published.

    Choi said the network was "not 100 percent sure" of its results, but testing done by independent labs on cells provided by Hwang's team indicated that the donor's DNA and the DNA of the stem cell line did not match in a few cases.

    Hwang is considered a hero in South Korea for making the country one of the world's leaders in stem cell research.

    After airing its first story last week about ethical lapses, MBC was picketed by protesters and some companies pulled advertising.

    "MBC has become the subject of strict criticism with charges of us trying to undercut out nation's interest through our reports," Choi said.

  2. #2
    Senior Member stlyin moe's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Warwick, RI USA
    I don't care if the cells come from a frog's butt, if they work, use them!
    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." ~ Thomas Jefferson

  3. #3
    Sigh. Science by media is not a good idea.
    Cloning pioneer Hwang woo-suk and his research team have said they will give MBC no assistance in verifying a research paper published in Science, which the broadcaster’s “PD Diary” current affairs program has as good as said is a sham. The paper describes the team’s groundbreaking success in extracting stem cells from embryos cloned from somatic cells.
    However, Hwang’s team is separately retracing its steps during the pioneering project in collaboration with the cable news channel YTN, in an attempt to show that remarks by researcher Kim Sun-jong, whose statement provided a basis for the “PD Diary” report, were wrong. Kim was a key researcher on Hwang’s team and was dispatched to assist Hwang’s then-collaborator, Prof. Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh.

    Members of Hwang’s team said Friday it was pointless to argue with the “PD Diary” crew, adding many international scientists protested that the team agreed to show the broadcaster the stem cell lines in the first place. They said handing stem cells over to TV journalists who are not scientists makes no sense.

    The sources said the team’s Prof. Ahn Cu-rie would meet with Kim in the U.S. to hear confirmation from Kim that he made the disparaging remarks to the “PD Diary” crew under pressure. Ahn will be accompanied by a YTN reporter at the meeting.

    Meanwhile, “PD Diary” producer Choi Seung-ho in a press conference urged Hwang’s team to conduct a second verification of the work as promised. Choi said his colleagues were not 100 percent convinced by the results of a first DNA test on five stem cells provided by Hwang’s team. He insisted the program was not claiming that Prof. Hwang’s research results were a sham. Another producer, Han Hak-soo, also appeared to back down by saying the producers had no evidence that the stem cells are fake.

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