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World Stem Cell Hub Opens in Seoul

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    World Stem Cell Hub Opens in Seoul

    World Stem Cell Hub Opens in Seoul

    By Kim Tae-gyu
    Staff Reporter

    President Roh Moo-hyun, fourth from right, and his wife Kwon Yang-sook, at Roh’s left, applaud the opening of the World Stem Cell Hub inside Seoul National University (SNU) Hospital in Seoul, Wednesday. / Yonhap
    The World Stem Cell Hub (WSCH) opened in Seoul Wednesday, with the goal of facilitating international cooperation in stem cell research.

    The WSCH, funded by the government for up to 6.5 billion won, has started operations at Seoul National University (SNU) Hospital in central Seoul.

    The WSCH will play a pivotal research role in such promising fields as cellular differentiation and the development of new drugs.

    Prof. Hwang Woo-suk at SNU, described as the ``cloning king’’ because of his contribution to the development of cloned embryonic stem cell segments, will take the helm of the WSCH.

    His close colleague Ahn Cu-rie, also a professor at SNU, will take charge of clinical experiments, and other luminaries in embryology will also participate in the effort.

    Included on the list are Prof. Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh and Ian Wilmut, who replicated the first mammal, a sheep named Dolly, in 1996.

    ``Down the road, stem cell hubs will be launched in the United States and Britain. We are now in talks with these countries to open the hubs with the aim of forging a global network,’’ said Kim Sung-su, an official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

    Among its many functions, the WSCH will store both embryonic and adult stem cell lines and supply the versatile cells to patients across the world.

    ``The WSCH will play the role of a stem cell bank in preparation for the time when stem cells are applied to therapy in the future,’’ Kim said.

    Gerald Schatten said the WSCH will be a place where doctors and scientists from across the world can come for stem cell research.

    ``We are hopeful that under the direction of Hwang, discoveries made here in Korea will be available to Asia as well as all the world,’’ he said during the 2005 Bio-Medi Symposium on Tuesday.

    Hwang revealed the plan to open the WSCH in late May after he surprised the world by announcing that his team had cultivated 11 customized stem cell batches by cloning somatic cells from as many patients with spinal cord injuries and other chronic diseases.

    Scientists point out the medical exploit significantly brightened the prospects of using off-the-peg stem cells to replace damaged cells or tissues.

    They hope embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to grow into any cell types in human body, can help in curing such hard-to-cure diseases as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes.

    Hwang also cloned a pair of dogs earlier this year and one of them, named Snuppy, is still alive. Dogs have remained the last barrier in the cloning of domestic animals.

    So far, the animals replicated include sheep, calves, goats, mice, pigs and cats.

    But the cloning of dogs has been elusive because of the dog’s unique reproductive system. Its eggs are released from its ovaries earlier than in other species.
    10-19-2005 17:2
    Matt , Thailand.

    C5-C6 Complete - ASIA A
    10 Years Disabled Man
    I will be walk again !!!

    What happened to the other dog that was cloned?
    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.


      Stem Cell Hub to Select Test Subjects

      Stem Cell Hub to Select Test Subjects
      2005-10-31 17:05:37 Updated.

      The new World Stem Cell Hub in Seoul from Tuesday morning will accept applications for test subjects for research on incurable diseases such as Parkinson's and spinal cord paralysis.

      Sufferers of the diseases can submit applications via e-mail or at the institute.

      Located in Seoul National University Hospital, the center will collect somatic cells from test subjects after selecting the patients.

      The registration is an early step to clone somatic cells, with clinical tests still years away.