Posts Tagged ‘Biotechnology’

S. Korea acts to recover from Hwang Woo-suk stem-cell debacle

September 19, 2011

Hwang Woo-suk “is a South Korean veterinarian and researcher. He was a professor of theriogenology and biotechnology at Seoul National University (dismissed on March 20, 2006) who became infamous for fabricating a series of experiments, which appeared in high-profile journals, in the field of stem cell research. Until November 2005, he was considered one of the pioneering experts in the field, best known for two articles published in the journal Science in 2004 and 2005 where he reported to have succeeded in creating human embryonic stem cells by cloning”.

Now the S. Korean government has introduced new regulations and is pumping more money into stem-cell research in an effort to rebuild the pre-eminent position that the country once had. The potential  for financial benefits for the technology leaders in  stem-cell based medical treatment is enormous and the government is responding to pressure from the country’s health care industry. The government sees potential for revenues for the country from stem-cell based treatments equalling or surpassing even that from its IT industry.

FCB-Pharmicell is a leading Korean company trying to use stem-cell based techniques for medical treatments and in July their Hearticellgram-AMI treatment was approved by the Korean Food and Drug Administration for the clinical treatment of heart-attack victims.

InvestorStemCell: More than five years after South Korea’s scientific reputation was shattered by a cloning research scandal, the country has approved stem cell medication in the form of a treatment for heart attack victims for the world’s first clinical use. …. Unlike embryonic stem cells, the use of somatic — or adult — stem cells, as in this case, is not controversial as they are derived from adult tissue samples and not destroyed human embryos. ….

Countries such as the United States and Germany are using this radical form of treatment in a ‘research’ capacity. What puts the South Korean team ahead is that it has shown the treatment as being good enough to win regulatory approval and make it available for clinical use.

…. After six years of clinical trials, the KFDA said it had finalized all procedures needed to permit the sale of Hearticellgram-AMI, a stem cell therapy for acute myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack.

Now the government is taking regulatory action to strengthen the oversight provisions but also to simplify licencing. The objective is to try and regain the reputation and credibility of the S. Korean researchers and the companies poised to commercialise the new techniques:

Reuters: South Korea’s president vowed on Monday a series of regulatory reforms to help regain its place as a stem cell research powerhouse, trying to reclaim momentum five years after a cloning scandal. President Lee Myung-bak said that by breathing new life into the industry, it could become “core new growth engine” for Asia’s fourth biggest economy along the same lines as its lucrative IT sector.

“Just a decade ago, Korea took the lead in stem cell research in the world along with the United States,” Lee said in a bi-weekly radio address. “Unfortunately, there was a disappointing incident, which caused inevitable damage to the entire stem-cell research community in Korea,” Lee said, referring to the scandal involving the pre-eminent scientist, Hwang Woo-suk. … As a result of the scandal, South Korea all but put stem cell research into the deep freeze. Lee said the lapse had allowed other countries such as the United States, Japan, Britain and China to get the jump on South Korea, depriving the country of valuable revenue. “While we were faltering in our quest for stem cell research, other nations streamlined their regulations and aggressively expanded their investments in research,” he said.

Lee said the government would invest nearly 100 billion won ($90 million) in stem cell research next year and that it would reform related regulations to make clinical and licensing procedures easier. He said the reforms would help the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) and other agencies “to ensure that they proactively adapt to the changes in the international environment”. 

“The government has decided to foster the stem cell industry as a core new growth engine following the footsteps of the IT industry,” he said.



Biotechnology Advances retracts 3 papers from India for plagiarism

October 5, 2010

Biotechnology Advances



Update 3: 7th August 2011 Kalasalingam University sacks Sangiliyandi Gurunathan

Update 2: 27th June 2011: Yet another

Sangiliyandi retraction  h/t JV Prasath


Links to the retraction notices have been added – 31st January 2011 and the links have been updated 22nd February 2011.

Biotechnology Advances has retracted 3 papers from India (2 from IIT Kanpur and1 from Kalasalingam University), all at the request of the editors and all for plagiarism.

A matter of some shame for Indian science and especially for the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. It remains to be seen if the Institutions take any action. The plagiarism seems to have been particularly inept since it included blatant copying even from Wikipedia and Encyclopedias.

The 3 retraction notices are given below:

1. Retraction notice to “Microbial production of dihydroxyacetone” [Biotech Adv. 26 (2008) 293–303] by Ruchi Mishra, Seema Rani Jain and Ashok Kumar

Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, 208016-Kanpur, India

Available online 22 August 2010.

Retraction Notice

Reason: This article has been retracted at the request of the editor as the authors have plagiarised part of several papers that had already appeared in several journals. One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not appeared in a publication elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and we apologise to the readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

From a limited, non-exhaustive check of the text, several elements of the text had been plagiarised from the following list of sources:


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