Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘Cell Stem Cell’ Category

Stem cell researcher Jacob Hanna’s correction count updated to 10

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Jacob Hanna

Jacob Hanna

Thanks to some eagle-eyed readers, we’ve been alerted to some corrections for high profile stem cell scientist Jacob Hanna that we had missed, bringing our count to one retraction and 13 errata on 10 papers.

The problems in the work range from duplications of images, to inadvertent deletions in figures, to failures by his co-authors to disclose funding sources or conflicts of interest. Hanna is the first or last author on 4 of the papers, and one of several on the rest.

First up, a correction to a Cell paper on which Hanna is the first author:

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A correction to a correction for stem cell researcher Jacob Hanna

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Jacob Hanna

Jacob Hanna

A correction to a correction is the latest problem for highly cited researcher Jacob Hanna. The stem cell scientist — whose high-profile work has received scrutiny over the past year — has amended an earlier correction notice after a reader spotted an inadvertent “mistake.”

We reported on the original correction, to the 2009 Cell Stem Cell paper “Metastable Pluripotent States in NOD-Mouse-Derived ESCs,” in July. The paper has been cited 184 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Apparently, a pair of images in the original correction note are of the same cell colonies, when they are supposed to be of separate cell colonies.

The new (and detailed) note explains how that happened:

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Inquiry into duplications reveals “multiple” image problems in tumor study

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STEM_17_1.c1.inddA paper on how abnormal stem cells can cause benign bone tumors has been retracted by Cell Stem Cell after an inquiry into image duplications also uncovered “multiple instances of inappropriate western blot image adjustment.”

The first two authors “declined” to sign the retraction, according to the notice.

Besides confirming initial suspicions that images had been duplicated, the editors also found “multiple instances of inappropriate western blot image adjustment, such as uneven compression of images and removal of background elements:”

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Cell biologist Hanna issues two errata; images mysteriously disappear from Imgur

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Jacob Hanna

Jacob Hanna

Cell biologist Jacob Hanna, the highly cited stem cell researcher currently at the Weizmann Institute of Science,  has posted a long erratum for a 2005 paper in Blood for “inadvertent mistakes,” among other issues; soon after, Hanna’s team issued another erratum for a 2009 Cell Stem Cell paper.

There’s more to tell: Last month, commenters on PubPeer noticed that images from at least 10 of the research papers Hanna coauthored in seven journals — that commenters had posted on the image hosting website Imgur and linked to on PubPeer — had been deleted.

Imgur did not confirm whether these specific images had been deleted, but told Retraction Watch:

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It’s not a tumor: Authors retract 2005 Cancer Research paper linking adult stem cells to cancer

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The authors of a 2005 Cancer Research paper that cast some doubt on the safety of a population of adult stem cells used frequently in research have retracted it. According to the retraction, in the August 15 issue of the journal:

Upon review of the data published in this article, the authors have been unable to reproduce some of the reported spontaneous transformation events and suspect the phenomenon is due to a cross-contamination artifact.

Transformation refers to changes in the cells that make them “immortal” — think HeLa cells, made popular by Rebecca Skloot’s book about Henrietta Lacks — and cancer-like. Read the rest of this entry »