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Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Stem Cell Hoax

This story has been bubbling along out there throughout the Christmas break.
Intriguing though the mystery may be, the frustration of patients who pinned their hopes on a stem cell cure must be unbearable. A 12-year-old boy suffering from spinal paralysis who offered his cells to Hwang's team is said to have asked his father Kim Je-eon, "Will I never be able to stand up again?" Our country has 100,000 diabetic children and 130,000 spinal paralysis patients. It was they and their families who spread azaleas in front of Prof. Hwang's laboratory when it seemed he was the victim of a slanderous campaign, pleading with him to come back and continue the work that had galvanized their hopes. The government, which poured more than W65 billion (US$65 million) into the project and touted Hwang’s research as if a cure for incurable diseases was just around the corner, owes these patients at least an explanation.
I find eerie echoes here to a former vice-presidential candidate saying that had President Bush "allowed" stem cell research on the unborn, Christopher Reeves would be alive today. Wonder if Mr. Edwards is keeping up with this story?

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