Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fertility and Sterility Editor Retracts Comments About Cha

The editor of the Fertility and Sterility Journal has retracted and apologized for his remarks alleging plagiarism and perjury linked to Kwang-Yul Cha, a South Korean scientist whose organization includes a Los Angeles lab that was approved for a $2.6 million California stem cell grant.

The May 31 letter was written by Alan DeCherney to Cha following articles in the Los Angeles Times and The Scientist concerning DeCherney's allegations. The charges received additional attention after CHA RMI in Los Angeles successfully competed for the CIRM grant.

Following approval of the research funds, two organizations that monitor CIRM said the news reports raised troubling questions.

Here is the text of the DeCherney letter, written on the letterhead of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The letter was supplied to the California Stem Cell Report by a representative of the Cha organization.
"Dear Dr. Cha,

"I am writing to apologize for the distress and any reputational damage my statements to The Scientist (February 20, 2007) and the Los Angeles Times (February 18, 2007) have caused you and your organization. Considering the facts of the matter, I consider my references to 'plagiarism' and 'perjury' to be inaccurate and regrettable. I hereby retract them and give you permission to forward this letter to the authors of both articles, and to their editors, for their information. You may use this letter in full form publicly in any way that you wish.

"I regret that I did not contact you or the other authors earlier to determine the facts of the matter, since it was brought to my attention more than a year ago. Please accept my apology for my hasty remarks to the reporters.

"After checking our records, I acknowledge that Dr. Jeong-Hwan Kim's name was included as an author when the manuscript was originally submitted, though I am not aware of the circumstances that ultimately led to his exclusion from the list of authors. I also acknowledge the fact that two formal requests were made in 2006 (after publication of the article in F&S) asking that Dr. Kim be added to the article as an author and that I did not respond to either of them.

"I want to emphasize that we found no scientific fault with your paper: "Quantification of mitochondrial DNA using real-time polymerase chain reaction in patients with premature ovarian failure," published in Sterility and Fertility. In accordance with the press release issued by the Fertility & Sterility board in April, we determined that you were not responsible for the dual publication. While the Board did not consider the issue of authorship, I have no reason to believe that you should not receive credit as first author. This would be consistent with the customary practice in the United State of the Corresponding Author providing the appropriate authorship credits.

"We hope that this will not discourage you and your scientific colleagues from submitting original research articles to Fertility and Sterility in the future.


Alan DeCherney, MD"
Funding of all the grants approved in March, including CHA RMI, has not yet begun. CIRM is reviewing them all as part of its normal practice to assure that each grantee can comply with the terms of the grant.

If you are interested in a PDF copy of the DeCherney letter, please send a request to If you would like to read more on this subject, we have posted a number of items in March and April. You can find by using the search term CHA.

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