Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘italy retractions’ Category

“Super-surgeon” Macchiarini guilty of misconduct, external review finds

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Paolo Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini, the celebrated surgeon whose work has come under scrutiny in Italy and at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, committed misconduct in six papers, according to an external reviewer.

Macchiarini is best known for creating tracheas from cadavers and patients’ own stem cells. The findings of the external review, first reported yesterday by SvD Nyheter, were made public last week. They are only available in Swedish thus far, and we have requested a copy from the Karolinska.

External reviewer Bengt Gerdin, of Uppsala University, summarized his findings this way for Retraction WAtch: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

May 19th, 2015 at 10:52 am

Controversial Italian scientist loses 11 papers from journal he used to edit

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Alberto Carpinteri, via Politecnico di Torino

Alberto Carpinteri, via Politecnico di Torino

Alberto Carpinteri is something of a Renaissance man.

Along with championing a highly controversial form of energy generation called “piezonuclear fission,” which involves crushing rocks, the engineer has argued that the Shroud of Turin really is as old as Jesus, but carbon dating was thrown off by an earthquake.

Not everyone agrees with his ideas: In 2012, more than 1,000 scientists signed a petition asking the Italian National Institute of Metrological Research (or INRIM, of which Carpinteri was director at the time) not to fund piezonuclear fission.

Carpinteri was also editor in chief of the journal Meccanica until 2014, when Luigi Gambarotta took over. Now, Meccanica is retracting 11 of its former EIC’s papers, including the one on the Shroud, and a number on piezonuclear fission, which Wired Italy put on their list of “most famous science hoaxes.” The reason? According to the notice, “the editorial process had been compromised.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

April 16th, 2015 at 3:26 pm

“Super-surgeon” Macchiarini not guilty of misconduct, per one Karolinska investigation

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Paolo Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini

Surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who is under investigation for allegedly downplaying dangers of an experimental surgery, has been cleared of some misconduct allegations by the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

Macchiarini, a thoracic surgeon, has made headlines for repairing damaged airways using tracheas from cadavers and even synthetic tracheas, both treated with the patients’ own stem cells to assist in the transplant.

In a letter to Vice-Chancellor Anders Hamsten dated last month, KI’s Ethics Council refuted a number of accusations leveled against Macchiarini by Pierre Delaere at KU Leuven in Belgium, who had suggested the surgeon had engaged in scientific misconduct, including fabricating data.

The Ethics Council, however, disagreed:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

April 14th, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Cancer researcher under investigation in Italy notches eighth retraction

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ejcancerAlfredo Fusco, the researcher in Italy who is under criminal investigation and has had seven papers retracted, has lost yet another study.

The investigation, which came to light in late 2013, had focused on eight papers thought to demonstrate evidence of image manipulation.

The latest paper, in the European Journal of Cancer, studied mice with a genetic alteration associated with lipomas (benign fatty growths) in humans.

Here’s part of the notice for “Expression of a truncated Hmga1b gene induces gigantism, lipomatosis and B-cell lymphomas in mice”: Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer Cell issues big correction over “incorrectly cropped” figures, other issues

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cancer cell A 2014 Cancer Cell paper became the subject of an erratum in January 2015, shortly after PubPeer members began criticizing the data. However, many issues brought up by commenters weren’t addressed in the correction notice, including a figure that might be two experiments spliced together to look like one.

The paper, led by Guido Franzoso at Imperial College London, claims that a new cancer drug called DTP3 kills myeloma cells “without causing any toxic side effects,” according to a press release from the school. Guido Franzoso is the founder of Kesios Therapeutics, a drug company which is set to begin clinical trials on DTP3.

The correction indicates that Western blots were cropped badly, which omitted several panels discussed in the text, while an “extra time point” was included accidentally. An antibody was also omitted from the description of the procedure.

PubPeer commenters have noticed additional issues, such as a criticism of figure 3D, which were not included or changed in this correction.

Here’s the correction for “Cancer-Selective Targeting of the NF-κB Survival Pathway with GADD45β/MKK7 Inhibitors”: Read the rest of this entry »

Materials science paper yanked over data pilfering

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materials lettersMaterials Letters has withdrawn an article in press after the editor found out the first author, Yan Li, had taken all the data without permission.

According to the notice, the senior author told the journal that the data came from the lab Li used to work in at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, but the P.I. in Italy didn’t know about the paper.

From the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Cut and paste and a PC crash: figure manipulations sink two papers

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Two papers by an overlapping group of researchers in Italy have been retracted for manipulated figures.

In late 2013, perennial tipster Clare Francis sent their concerns about several papers, including the two that have been retracted, by authors who frequently publish together. One of the papers, in the Journal of Neurochemistry, is from a team led by Ferdinando Nicoletti; four other papers from the group have been criticized on PubPeer for image manipulation, which he addressed via email with us.

The second retracted paper, from the Journal of Immunology, has shares one author with the first: Patrizia Di Iorio of the University of Chieti, though according to Nicoletti she had no role in preparing the figures.

Here’s the April 2014 notice for “Neuroprotection mediated by glial group-II metabotropic glutamate receptors requires the activation of the MAP kinase and the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase pathways” in the Journal of Neurochemistry. It’s behind a paywall, but the journal has assured us this is against policy and they will be fixing it shortly:
Read the rest of this entry »

Retracted paper on herbicide-ovarian cancer connection republished

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ehpA retracted 2008 paper originally flagged by Clare Francis has been republished in Environmental Health Perspectives with updated figures and new data.

According to the editor’s note appended to the newly published paper, there was no evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the authors. The new paper went through peer review as an entirely new submission, and comes to the same conclusion as the original:  Read the rest of this entry »

Spat between physicists hits Italian courts for the second time

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Ignazio Ciufolini

The long-running feud between Italian physicists Ignazio Ciufolini and Lorenzo Iorio (which we’ve covered here and here) turned up a notch in November, when Ciufolini filed a defamation lawsuit against Iorio.

You can read the full lawsuit here (in Italian). The gist is this: Iorio accused Ciufolini of criticizing the work of other physicists on under two separate pseudonyms (in a letter which the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, which published his claims, later retracted, saying it was a matter better handled locally). Iorio later left critical comments on articles about Ciufolini on the Science blog, Neuroskepticand an Italian newspaper La Repubblica‘s website.

This fight has a long history, despite the two having published articles together in the past. In 2004, Ciufolini’s lawyer sent Iorio a vaguely threatening letter (also in Italian) that had no specifics about what Iorio was doing wrong. Iorio described to us what the letter referred to:
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

January 13th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Retractions follow revelations of misconduct by diabetes biotech

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diabetes careSeveral months after a drug company cancelled development of a potential diabetes cure because it found evidence that a biotech they had recently acquired had committed misconduct in studies of the drug, two retractions of relevant studies have appeared.

The research involves DiaPep277, which, as Josh Levy explained here in September, “would cause the immune system to stop attacking beta cells,” the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. But Hyperion Therapeutics, which had acquired DiaPep277 developer Andromeda Biotech in June, announced in September that it had

uncovered evidence that certain employees of Andromeda Biotech, Ltd., which Hyperion acquired in June 2014, engaged in serious misconduct, including collusion with a third-party biostatistics firm in Israel to improperly receive un-blinded DIA-AID 1 trial data and to use such data in order to manipulate the analyses to obtain a favorable result.

The retractions are both of papers published in Diabetes Care in May 2014. Here’s the notice for “Treatment of Recent-Onset Type 1 Diabetic Patients With DiaPep277: Results of a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Phase 3 Trial:” Read the rest of this entry »