Monday, February 17, 2014

US 8,647,872, titled Human embryonic stem cell line prepared by nuclear transfer of a human somatic cell into an enucleated human oocyte

Back in 2005, South Korean scientist Woo-Suk Hwang published a landmark paper on stem cells in the journal Science. The underlying data were later determined to be inaccurate, if not fraudulent. Nine years later, one has a related US Patent. The first claim of US 8,647,872, with second named inventor Woo-Suk Hwang, recites

An embryonic stem cell line derived from a nucleus-transferred oocyte prepared by transferring a nucleus of a human somatic cell into an enucleated human oocyte, which is a cell line deposited under the accession number KCLRF-BP-00092.

The claim requires that the embryonic cell line be derived from the cell line deposited under accession number KCLRF-BP-00092. A cell line not so derived does not fall within the literal scope of claim 1.

Now that Hwang's US patent has issued, the cell line is available to the public for investigation.

The assignee of the issued patent is H. Bion Co., Ltd. (Seoul, KR) .

The priority claim of US '872 is as follows: This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/591,505, filed on Nov. 20, 2009, which was a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/584,255, filed on Jun. 28, 2007 (now abandoned), which was a 35 U.S.C. .sctn.371 National Phase Entry Application from PCT/KR2004/003528, filed Dec. 30, 2004, and designating the United States, which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. .sctn.119 to PCT/KR03/002899 filed Dec. 30, 2003, which are incorporated herein in their entireties.

Note that the more recent applications in the priority chain were filed long after the fraud associated with the journal article was known.

Further, the '872 patent, which issued on February 11, 2014 , comes years after the problems with Hwang's science publications were uncovered.

See for example the article by LBE in JPTOS which discussed some aspects of Science's publishing of the fraudulent work by Hwang Woo Suk (Analyzing Innovation the Right Way, 88 JPTOS 239). Mentioned in The Scientist on peer review

Also, from What is the timetable for cures through human embryonic stem cells?

One year ago, in March 2006, LBE published a paper on the fraud of Hwang Woo-Suk which included the text:

Hwang's 2005 paper begins with the text: "Many human injuries and diseases result from defects in a single cell type. If defective cells could be replaced with appropriate stem cells, progenitor cells, or cells differentiated in vitro, and if immune rejection of transplanted cells could be avoided, it might be possible to treat disease and injury at the cellular level in the clinic. By generating hESCs [human embryonic stem cells] from human blastocysts, in which the somatic cell nucleus comes from the individual patient -- a situation where the nuclear [though not mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)] genome is identical to that of the NT donor -- the possibility of immune rejection might be eliminated if these cells were to be used for human treatment." n46 [See 88 JPTOS 239, 248 (2006)]

The reviewers of Science accepted the truth of this statement back in March 2005, when the second paper of Hwang in Science was submitted. Two years later, in March 2007, the statement is still true. It is quite relevant to any realization of cures or treatment through human embryonic stem cells.


See also the article in the New York Times by Andrew Pollack Disgraced Scientist Granted U.S. Patent for Work Found to be Fraudulent


Inventions using publicly available stem cell lines involving destruction of human embryos found unpatentable under the EPC


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