Journals stamp expressions of concern on 15 papers from Anversa’s cardiac stem cell lab

Piero Anversa

More than four and a half years after questions were first raised about work in a cardiac stem cell lab at Harvard and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a year and a half after the Brigham and Partners Healthcare paid $10 million to settle allegations of fraud in the lab’s data, a month after Harvard the Brigham disclosed that they were calling for the retractions of more than 30 papers from the lab, and three weeks after the NIH paused a clinical trial based on the work, two leading journals have issued an expression of concern about 15 papers from the lab.

But expressions of concern are not retractions, of course. From the notice, in Circulation and Circulation Research, both of which are published by the American Heart Association:

We are communicating with the authors of these publications as well as Harvard Medical School. We are publishing this Expression of Concern while we await the outcome of these communications and to indicate that the data in the listed publications may not be reliable.

It’s not clear if the 15 papers are among the 31 Harvard and the Brigham called to be retracted. The institutions have so far declined to provide that list. But it seems likely, from the notice:

Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have notified the American Heart Association that they have completed a review into concerns about the integrity of certain data generated in a former laboratory at BWH. The review concluded that there were issues with data reported…

Four of the 15 papers, which appeared between 2008 and 2014, have been cited more than 100 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Circulation has retracted a paper by Anversa before.

Hat tip: Stéphane Burtey

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3 thoughts on “Journals stamp expressions of concern on 15 papers from Anversa’s cardiac stem cell lab”

  1. For Retraction Watch staff:
    I’ve noticed the use of the tags “united-state” or “france” when retractions come from those countries while when a retraction comes from (e.g.) the UK or Korea, the tags are “uk retraction” or “korea retraction”.
    Any reason for the difference of treatment?

    disclosure: I’m French.

    1. Some of the categories — not tags; those are different in WordPress — were created before we added parent categories such as “by country.” Once we added the parent category “by country” we didn’t need the “retractions.”

  2. It’s a huge scandal that it has taken so terrible long time to probably get the falsified Anversa papers retracted.

    The editors of Circulation and Circulation Research are so toothless by their decision to delay the retraction further, by their “Expression of concern”. The whole work of Anversa has been stamped an “Expression of concern” many years ago!

    The Anversa papers continue to be quoted. Just by looking at some of the houndreds of papers that are confirming the existence of non-existing cardiac stem cells, I see the importance of retractions!

    Enough damage has been done to the cardiovascular research.

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