Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘clinical study retractions’ Category

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 »

Drug paper gets a fix, notching several corrections

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rsc_tb_1_3_COVER.inddThe Journal of Materials Chemistry B has issued a laundry list of corrections for a 2014 chemotherapy paper, which address re-use of “some text”, incorrectly stated doses, and miscalculations of the drug concentration, among other issues.

The paper described a new way to deliver gemcitabine via nanoparticles, focusing the drug on the tumors.

It turns out the authors’ focus wasn’t so clear when writing the paper. The researchers, at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Peking Union Medical College, and Tianjin University in China, said they used “some text” from two 2013 papers by a team of French oncologists “without appropriate attribution,” as well as repeatedly getting the in vivo dose wrong. The manuscript also contained several incorrect calculations of the “drug loading,” or the proportion of active drug.

Here’s the correction for “Tailor-made gemcitabine prodrug nanoparticles from well-defined drug–polymer amphiphiles prepared by controlled living radical polymerization for cancer chemotherapy” (free, but requires sign-in): Read the rest of this entry »

BioMed Central retracting 43 papers for fake peer review

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bmc logoBioMed Central is retracting 43 papers, following their investigation into 50 papers that raised suspicions of fake peer review, possibly involving third-party companies selling the service.

In November 2014 we wrote about fake peer reviews for Nature; at that point there had been about 110 retractions across several journals. The addition of 16 retractions by Elsevier for the same reason, and today’s 43 from BMC, brings retractions resulting from the phenomenon up to about 170.

BMC has also contacted institutions regarding 60 additional papers that were rejected for publication, but seem to be part of the same kind of scam. Regarding the third-party agents, BMC senior editor of scientific integrity Elizabeth Moylan writes: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

March 26th, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Pain paper scratched for authorship issues

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ejacoverA group of pain researchers in Austria has lost their 2014 paper in the European Journal of Anaesthesiology because one of the authors wasn’t, well, one of the authors.

The article, “Intravenous nonopioid analgesic drugs in chronic low back pain patients on chronic opioid treatment: A crossover, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study,” came from a team at the Medical University Vienna and Evangelical Hospital Vienna.

During the study, the authors tested whether intravenous infusions of nonopioid drugs (such as paracetamol, or Tylenol) helped people with chronic back pain who take opioids regularly. They found that people’s pain levels decreased in the days leading up to treatment, when they were receiving a placebo, but not after the actual infusion. The results likely stem from “expectation-related mechanisms,” they wrote. Read the rest of this entry »

Sticky situation: Paper using honey for healing pulled over data issues

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honey

Image via Hillary Stein

A paper on dressing wounds with honey has been retracted after the journal realized that an outlier patient was throwing off the data analysis.

Honey has been used for millennia as an antimicrobial wound dressing. Doctors can even buy sterile preparations of the sweetener. But the evidence that honey is better than other wound dressings is still inconclusive.

According to the retracted paper, published in International Wound Journal in 2008, Manuka honey has an acidic pH which helps reduce the alkaline environment of chronic woulds. Indeed, the authors found that Manuka honey dressings lowered wound pH and reduced wound size.

Sadly, the paper was pulled in 2014, after someone realized one patient had a particularly large wound that was throwing off statistics. The injury was 61 cm^2 at the beginning of the study, while the others ranged from .9 to 22 cm^2. After removing that patient from the analysis, the results no longer held up.

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Diabetes researcher won’t give up court fight to quash expressions of concern

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Mario Saad, via unicamp.br

Mario Saad, via unicamp.br

Apparently, you can’t keep Mario Saad down.

The researcher, who had 12 figures in a paper corrected this week, was dealt a setback last week when a judge denied his motion to remove expressions of concern on four of his papers in the journal Diabetes, saying that would have amounted to prior restraint — essentially, censorship (a no-no, thanks to the First Amendment).

Saad and his attorneys, however, were undeterred. They filed a motion for reconsideration just four days later, along with a brief, arguing: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 5th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Second exercise study retracted in four-paper pileup

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nursing and health scienceWe recently wrote about three papers on heart health and exercise that came under fire for reporting the same trial in three different ways. Actually, make that four ways (so far).

The Wiley journal Nursing and Health Sciences has retracted a fourth paper from the group, saying the “main study” was “previously published.” The notice mentions all three previous papers, one of which has already been retracted and another withdrawn from publication.

Here’s the notice for “Can the transtheoretical model motivate patients with coronary heart disease to exercise?”: Read the rest of this entry »

Judge denies motion by researcher to quash Diabetes expressions of concern

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Mario Saad, via unicamp.br

Mario Saad, via unicamp.br

American Diabetes Association 1, Mario Saad 0.

As reported by the National Law Journal, a federal judge in Boston has denied Saad’s requests to stop the ADA’s flagship journal, Diabetes, from publishing expressions of concern about four of Saad’s papers, and to prevent the journal from retracting the studies.

Saad filed suit against the ADA on February 5. Judge Timothy Hillman wrote in his order yesterday that approving the researcher’s motion would have violated the right to free speech: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 25th, 2015 at 8:30 am

More evidence scientists continue to cite retracted papers

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Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 2.38.46 PMA new paper in the MDPI journal Publications reports that the only controlled study on the effect of giving COPD patients Omega-3 has been cited 52 times since being retracted. Of those, only two mentioned the retraction.

In 2005, Chest published an article that found that COPD patients who took omega-3 supplements for 2 years experienced improvements in their condition, such as better walking tests and a decrease in sputum cytokines. But when an institutional investigation found the lead author had falsified the data, the journal retracted the paper in 2008.

That’s news to many researchers in the field. Among the 50 papers that cited the research after 2008 without stating it had been retracted, 20 included “specific data” from the paper, while the other 30 “cited the reference in passing.” Articles citing the retracted study have themselves been cited 947 times total, pointing to the ripple effect this kind of unwitting mention can have throughout the literature.

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First cut is the deepest: paper on incisional hernia sliced for duplication

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jamcolsurgeonsThe authors of a 2014 paper in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons about incisional hernia have lost their article for being a duplicate submission.

The paper, “Impact on Quality of Life of Using an Onlay Mesh to Prevent Incisional Hernia in Midline Laparotomy: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” came from a group at the Parc Tauli University Hospital, part of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in Spain.

By duplicating another paper, the authors (three of which appear to be listed on both papers) committed “a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system,” according to the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

February 12th, 2015 at 11:30 am