Another stem cell paper retracted, for “breach of established ethical guidelines”

Last week’s big Retraction Watch news — which got us quoted in the New York Times — was a Nature paper by Amy Wagers and Shane Mayack. The now-retracted paper suggested that the aging of stem cells could be reversed, and Blood has issued a notice of concern about a second paper.

Now comes news about another stem cell finding. The International Journal of Urology has retracted a 2009 paper by Japanese researchers who claimed to have used stem cells derived from fatty tissue to treat urinary incontinence in two men. The men had developed bladder problems after undergoing surgery to remove their cancerous prostates.

According to the editor’s note, the article

has been retracted by agreement between the authors and the journal Editor-in-Chief. The retraction has been agreed due to the unintended breach of established ethical guidelines.

That construction leave a lot to the imagination. What “ethical guidelines” were breached? Were they scientific protocols, such as proper informed consent, or publishing rules, such as making sure the authors attested to the veracity of their data?

We haven’t been able to reach the journal or the researchers yet to ask them these questions, but once we do we’ll update this post.

The paper has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Update, 12:50 p.m. Eastern, 10/18/10: Thanks to Retraction Watch reader Alexey Bersenev for flagging a 2008 retraction of a similar study in The Lancet. That retraction, as Nature reported, followed an investigation by the Austrian government’s Agency for Health and Food Safety.

For more on a previous stem cell retraction involving adult cells and cancer, see this post.

0 thoughts on “Another stem cell paper retracted, for “breach of established ethical guidelines””

  1. We really need to know the context here. If this retraction was based on ethical violations which don’t affect the conclusions of the study, the results still stand and other researchers can make use of them. Unethical science is often bad science, but not always.

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