SEOUL, South Korea, July 28, 2005 ( – The self-professed purpose of South Korea’s Histostem Corporation is music to the ears of pro-life advocates waging a difficult war against deadly embryonic stem-cell research. According to its website, Histostem “is pioneering cell-based therapy with stem cells, free of ethical problems.” Hoon Han, CEO of Histostem, received his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Korea in 1979.

There are few who would argue that Histostem’s research and experimentation with treatments involving only stem cells isolated from the blood in umbilical cords collected after birth poses any notable ethical conundrums. The corporation claims numerous successful treatments to date for dozens of varied diseases, using newly developed cord blood stem cell techniques.

Riding the wave of its medical successes Histostem announced earlier this month that it would be pairing up with an unnamed European investor to create the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to umbilical cord stem-cell treatments. Each partner will pony up $80 million to build the hospital on the southern resort island of Jeju sometime in 2007. The hospital will have 100 beds.

Among those conditions that Histostem claims to have treated with varying degrees of success are spinal cord injuries, liver cirrhosis, Buerger’s disease, diabetes, chronic renal failure, and dozens of others. Last November Histostem received wide publicity after televised images showed the world’s first patient paralyzed by a spinal cord injury and treated with cord blood stem-cell research taking a number of steps.