Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Hwang Reaction: Research Needs More Care

In the first of what is likely to be a series of comments about the impact of the Korean stem cell fraud findings, a top Stanford researcher says they show that researchers must "work more deliberately."

Irving Weissman, director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, released a statement that included the following:

"With the dollars provided by California's Proposition 71, Stanford intends to recruit scientists who will find ways to do nuclear transfer research, first in animal models and then with human cells, using the safest and most effective methods.

"The Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine is committed to advancing the field through the creation of new stem cell lines, research to further understand stem cell biology and the development of treatments for disease. Proposition 71 will play a significant role in helping Stanford researchers as well as other California institutions achieve the full therapeutic potential of stem cells."

Weissman called the Korean scandal a "personal tragedy" for Hwang and his scientific colleagues.

"While the announcement is a disappointing setback for nuclear transfer stem cell research, we are all making significant progress in the fields of adult tissue stem cell research, embryonic stem cell research and cancer/leukemia stem cell research. We must work more deliberately on nuclear transfer stem cell research, but we must go forward ethically and responsibly, as the future potential applications for the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases using these tools is so great," Weissman said.

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