The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced Monday it plans to cancel its approval of cloned embryonic stem cell research by Hwang Woo-suk and his research team. The ministry said that the research processes Dr. Hwang and his team used violated the medical ethics law.
Kim Heon-ju, the ministry¡¯s biotechonology chief, said the approval Dr. Hwang received last year was due to his 2004 paper published in the U.S. journal Science, adding, ¡°Because Science retracted that paper, we have reviewed our position.¡±
Mr. Kim said Dr. Hwang had been notified to submit a written opinion of any objections. ¡°If Dr. Hwang or his team does not come up with a response by Feb. 10, we will have no choice but to cancel our approval.¡± If the cancellation is finalized, Dr. Hwang¡¯s team will be unable to continue with cloned embryonic stem cell research, meaning his request to re-examine his findings and conduct future experiments will be rejected.
Current institutions allowed to conduct research on cloned embryonic stem cells include Seoul National University veterinary college, MizMedi Hospital, Cha Hospital, Hanyang University Hospital, Seoul National University Medical College and Seoul National University Hospital.
However, until now, only Dr. Hwang¡¯s team was allowed to conduct actual research on cloned embryonic stem cells due to the fact that since a presidential decree on this has not been enacted yet, the ministry had been abiding by the subsidiary clause of the medical ethics law. Only Dr. Hwang¡¯s team met the requirements.
by Kim Jung-soo