Dr. Se-Pill is co-inventor of U.S. 6,921,632, issued July 26, 2005, and titled Human embryonic stem cells derived from frozen-thawed embryo. In the period of more than one year since patent issuance, the patent has been cited by NO OTHER U.S. patents.
The '632 patent cites to Thomson's '780 patent (but no other Thomson patents), and also cites
Thomson, J.A. et al. (1995), "Isolation of A Primate Embryonic Stem Cell Line" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92:7844-7848.
Thomson, J.A. et al. (1998), "Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Blastocysts" Science 282: 1145-114. [sic, USPTO database]
The first claim of the '632 states:
A process for making undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells, comprising the steps of: (a) thawing a cryopreserved human blastocyst embryo; (b) isolating the inner cell mass by a process comprising the step of removing the trophectoderm from said embryo using anti-human lymphocyte antibody; and (c) culturing at least a portion of said inner cell mass on a medium capable of sustaining undifferentiated embryonic stem cells, whereby undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells are established.
Flashback for a moment to October 2005. The Korea Herald reported:
A research team led by Dr. Park Se-pill, director of Maria Biotechonolgy Institute, said yesterday [Oct. 17, 2005] that it obtained a patent right from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last July for making therapeutic embryonic stem cells using surplus frozen blastocyst embryos. (A blastocyst is an embryo that has developed for at least five days before being frozen.)
There are only two other patents concerning human embryonic stem cell research registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [IPBiz: ??], including a Wisconsin University team's early-stage frozen embryo research and Australia-Singapore research team's embryo research. But these two have relatively low success rates in creating stem cells and embryos were often lost in the freeze-and-thaw process, Park's team said.
Park's team uses spare frozen blastocyst embryos which are bound to be abandoned after having been stored for five years. Park developed a technique which generates embryonic stem cells by thawing the leftover frozen blastocyst embryos.
This approach has attracted less ethical debate and is expected to create enormous economic value when it is medically deployed to treat diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes.
Park said complete and specific technological breakthroughs are included in the patent right, such as the thawing technology, external fertilization system and AHLS.
The success rate to develop embryonic stem cells has been raised to 63 percent, five times higher than the previous level of 10-36 percent, the team reported.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hwang Woo-suk commented on this as "tremendously well done."