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.