Blood posts “notice of concern” over second Wagers-Mayack paper

A day after an up and coming Harvard stem cell scientist retracted a Nature paper, Blood has issued a notice of concern about another paper by the same group, published in August 2008, the Boston Globe reports. Such notices often, but not always, precede retractions.

According to the notice for “Osteolineage niche cells initiate hematopoietic stem cell mobilization”:

Based on information provided by the corresponding author, Amy J. Wagers, Blood wishes to post a Notice of Concern for this August 1, 2008 article.

As a result of an internal review by the corresponding author, serious concerns with some of the reported data were raised, specifically regarding the osteolineage differentiation of small numbers of sorted osteopontin+ niche cells. This matter is currently under further review. Blood will inform the readers of the outcomes.

The study has been cited 24 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Shane Mayack, one of the co-authors, was also a co-author on the retracted Nature study. She worked at the Joslin Diabetes Center with Wagers until October 1 of this year, according to the Globe.

Mayack, has published a total of seven papers. Five were with Wagers’ group, and two were with the University of Massachusetts’ Leslie Berg, her PhD advisor.

Berg told the Globe the retraction and notice of concern were a surprise:

While specifics about what was wrong with the papers were not available, Berg said there had never been concerns about the work Mayack did in her lab. The results Mayack produced have been replicated by other lab members, Berg said.

“I’ve never had any indication there was a problem with anything she did in the lab,” Berg said.

Update, 2:45 p.m. Eastern, 10/14/10: We called Berg for comment. Here’s what she had to say:

I have thought about this, and most of the information that’s in the paper that was published in my lab that Shane was responsible for has… held up to repeated experiments by other people. So I am not concerned about what’s in that paper.

However, Berg said she has “known about this situation for about six hours” and hasn’t had time to consider all the experiments that might need to be repeated in order to prove that Mayack’s contributions were kosher.

She added that her group has no other manuscripts involving Mayack that have yet to be published.

Please see an update involving another paper published by Wagers and Mayack in Developmental Biology.

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