Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘lack of IRB approval’ Category

Golden rice paper pulled after judge rules for journal

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home_coverThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is retracting a paper that showed genetically engineered rice serves as an effective vitamin A supplement after a Massachusetts judge denied the first author’s motion for an injunction against the publisher.

The journal announced plans to retract the paper last year following allegations that the paper contained ethical mis-steps, such as not getting informed consent from the parents of children eating the rice, and faking ethics approval documents.

Last July, first author Guangwen Tang at Tufts University filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against the journal’s publisher, the American Society for Nutrition, to stop the retraction.

According to the ASN, on July 17, a Massachusetts Superior Court “cleared the way” for the publisher to retract the paper. So they have, as of July 29. Here’s more from the retraction notice:

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Ethics dispute forces retraction of paper on Hep C in Japanese leper colony

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jcmcoverHere’s a case of retraction being a hammer when a scalpel might have been better.

The authors of a 2011 paper in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology looking at transmission of hepatitis C in a former leper colony in Japan have retracted the article because an ethics panel in that country objected to the scientists’ use of fetal tissue.

The article involves a controversial aspect of modern Japanese history — the country’s efforts to eradicate leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, by isolating patients in a string of state-run sanatoriums. The policy was eventually realized to be unnecessary and ruled unconstitutional in 2001, triggering a wave of apologies to patients and their families.

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Clinical trial of Achilles tendon therapy retracted for not actually being a clinical trial

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JBJS_ak6The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery has retracted a 2012 paper because of ethical violations, initially flagged by the journal in 2013.

The study, which examined the use of autologous cell therapy in treating Achilles tendinosis, claimed in its abstract to have “conducted a randomized, double-blind study on forty Achilles tendons in thirty-two patients.” Apparently, though, it wasn’t actually a clinical trial but was somehow, according to the retraction notice, “misclassified” as such “in error.”

The problem was originally flagged by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which wrote the journal to tell them that it hadn’t granted ethical approval for the study, as we reported in 2013. At the time, there was a question about whether the lead author had retained records of the results, which is addressed in the retraction notice, signed by editor-in-chief Marc F. Swiontkowski and editor-in-Chief Emeritus Vernon T. Tolo: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alla Katsnelson

May 14th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Yes, we are seeing more attacks on academic freedom: guest post by historian of science and medicine

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Alice Dreger2We’re pleased to introduce readers to Alice Dreger, a historian of science and medicine at the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program in Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Her new book is “Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science,” out this week from Penguin Press. Read to the end for a chance to win a free copy.

The good news: Policy makers and the public seem to be increasingly taking scientific research seriously. The bad news? People who don’t like researchers’ findings seem to be increasingly coming after researchers and their universities. And some of those people are powerful.

Technically, your university is supposed to protect your academic freedom. In my own university’s faculty handbook, academic freedom is the first topic discussed. But as I’ve learned from my own personal experiences, as well as from eight years studying the experiences of other researchers who have gotten into political hot water, your administration may not always have your back. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

March 12th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Asthma study yanked for serious ethical violations

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springerplusA paper in SpringerPlus on treating asthma with antioxidants was retracted on September 25 for something of a trifecta of ethical problems.

The retraction notice indicates that the patients never consented, there was no ethical review, and the university supposedly overseeing the study had no knowledge of it:

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Written by Cat Ferguson

October 13th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Yet another study of widely touted cancer “cure” retracted

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cancer immunology immunotherapyA third study of GcMAF, a protein being used to treat a variety of conditions from AIDS to autism to cancer, all without the blessing of health agencies, has been retracted.

Here’s the notice in Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy for “Immunotherapy of metastatic colorectal cancer with vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage-activating factor, GcMAF:” Read the rest of this entry »

Second study of widely touted cancer and HIV “cure” retracted

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j med virologyLast month, we brought you the story of the retraction of a paper by Nobutu Yamamoto and colleagues about “a protein being used — unapproved by health agencies — to treat diseases including cancer and autism.”

A second paper by the group, about using the protein to treat HIV, has been retracted. Here’s the notice for “Immunotherapy of HIV-infected patients with Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF),” from the Journal of Medical Virology:
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Written by Ivan Oransky

August 21st, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Paper about widely touted but unapproved “cure” for cancer, autism retracted

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int j cancerA paper about a protein being used — unapproved by health agencies — to treat diseases including cancer and autism has been retracted.

Here’s the notice from the International Journal of Cancer about a 2007 paper purporting to show that the substance, GcMAF, is useful against breast cancer: Read the rest of this entry »

Rapid mood swing: PNAS issues Expression of Concern for controversial Facebook study

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pnas 1113The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is subjecting a much-criticized study involving Facebook that it published just two weeks ago to an Expression of Concern.

From the abstract of the original study: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

July 3rd, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Dubai-ous: Journal yanks surgery paper for consent, data issues

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Low-Res-Annals-95_4-Cover-1_smallThe Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England has retracted a 2013 article by a group from Dubai and Italy after learning of serious issues with the data in the report.

The article, “Transanal haemorrhoidal dearterialisation with mucopexy versus stapler haemorrhoidopexy: a randomised trial with long term follow-up,” purportedly described a long-term telephone follow-up study of patients who had undergone the procedure. Here’s the abstract: Read the rest of this entry »