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Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012

All projects involving Moriguchi face probe


The government and universities began looking Monday into research projects involving Hisashi Moriguchi, who falsely claimed he had carried out the world's first clinical trial using a trailblazing stem cell technology.

News photo
In the eye of the storm: Hisashi Moriguchi, who falsely claimed he had carried out the world's first clinical trial using a trailblazing stem cell technology, speaks to the media after landing at Narita International Airport on Monday. KYODO

The Cabinet Office and the science and health ministries, as well as the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Kyorin University plan to probe what role Moriguchi may have played in the projects and whether his purported achievements are true.

Moriguchi, 48, said last week that he performed treatment using pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which have the potential to grow into any type of body tissue, on six people but later admitted most of his claim was false.

"While the treatment was implemented, it was only one procedure," he said at a news conference Saturday in New York. "At the end of the day, I lied."

The education and science ministry found that Moriguchi was engaged in two research projects subsidized by the government between fiscal 2001 and 2005.

The projects, which received a combined ¥20.7 million in subsidies, concerned topics such as the comparison of cooperation between business and academia in Japan and the U.S. and did not involve experiments or surgery.

The Cabinet Office is set to provide ¥160 million in subsidies to a four-year project aimed at developing refrigeration techniques for cells and body organs that will run through fiscal 2013. The project leader at the University of Tokyo hired Moriguchi as a researcher.

The office has asked the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, which manages the project, to look into Moriguchi's contributions.

A report submitted by the project members in fiscal 2010 said the research covers methods to refrigerate iPS cells, as well as organs such as the heart, uterus and lymph nodes, and that Moriguchi was a key researcher.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry meanwhile found that Moriguchi had been involved in three of its research projects in the past.

Tokyo Medical and Dental University will convene an investigative committee Tuesday. Kyorin University has set up a similar panel. The University of Tokyo, where Moriguchi works as a researcher, will also examine his activities.

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The Japan Times

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