Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Two Moriguchi stem cell papers being retracted

with 6 comments

It was, as Nature News wrote last month, a story that “seemed too good to be true:”

Stem-cell transplant claims debunked

Transplant of induced pluripotent stem cells to treat heart failure probably never happened

Hisashi Moriguchi, a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo, had claimed a result that would have put him years ahead of researchers toiling in stem cell research. But the claims were met with a great deal of doubt — to say the least — and the story began to unravel when Harvard, where Moriguchi said he’d done the work, denied it had ever taken place.

And as expected, the retractions have now started. Today, a Nature Publishing Group journal said they would be retracting two papers, “A therapeutic method for the direct reprogramming of human liver cancer cells with only chemicals” and “Successful cryopreservation of human ovarian cortex tissues using supercooling.” The notices for the Scientific Reports papers will both say the same thing:

The authors cannot guarantee the accuracy of the results and conclusions described in this article and wish to retract it. In addition, Hisashi Moriguchi’s affiliation is incorrect. He is affiliated with University of Tokyo but not with Massachusetts General Hospital nor with Harvard Medical School. The study did not receive Institutional Review Board approval.

The papers had already been the subject of addenda on October 18:

Scientific Reports has become aware of irregularities related to authors affiliations and the statement describing IRB approval in this paper. The situation is being investigated.

We’ll continue to follow this fast-moving story.

  • Ressci Integrity November 11, 2012 at 10:13 am

    good that you covered this already..stem cell research has been in the limelight since the beginning. it appears that there is no end to it.

    An open letter to Yamanaka below this news item is interesting as well.

    • anon November 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

      I would take anything from Shi V. Liu with a grain of salt. Apparently need a username/password in order to get into his website (, but if you Google “,” you can find some of his writings – I recommend reading a couple. They are…weird.

      For example: . Check out his “Protest against Cell’s long-time ignorance of criticisms and repeated cheating on public,” and Cell’s response.

      (NB: Unless I am much mistaken, Truthfinding Cyberpress is a “publishing group” of his own design, consisting of the journals, “Logical Biology,” “International Medicine,” “Scientific Ethics,” “Pioneer,” and “Top Watch.”)

    • aquarophysics November 14, 2012 at 4:45 am

      lol. That Liu guy is just a troll.

  • littlegreyrabbit November 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    ” In addition, Hisashi Moriguchi’s affiliation is incorrect. He is affiliated with University of Tokyo but not with Massachusetts General Hospital nor with Harvard Medical School. ”

    Which is just as well, if he had been affiliated with Harvard they probably would have offered him tenure – at least that is their track record.

  • 論文捏造&研究不正 (@JuuichiJigen) August 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Two more retractions for Hisashi Moriguchi:

    BMJ Case Rep. 2013 May 24;2013. pii: bcr2013008960. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2013-008960.

    BMJ Case Rep. 2013 Apr 18;2013. pii: bcr2013008988. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2013-008988.

  • Fa December 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Pictures on Hisashi Moriguchi paper (Figure 3 | Immunofluorescence analyses for DDX4 (red), KIT (green),
    YBX2 (red) and LHX8 (green) expression in oocytes within human ovarian cortex tissues. Sections were counterstained with DAPI (blue) for visualization of nuclei.) are actually from: Oocyte formation by mitotically active germ cells purified from ovaries of reproductive-age women. White YA, Woods DC, Takai Y, Ishihara O, Seki H, Tilly JL. Nat Med. 2012 Feb 26;18(3):413-21. doi: 10.1038/nm.2669. PMID:22366948

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