According to the notice, the corresponding author, David Shima, now at University College London, brought his concern to the journal. He called it a “genuine error” and stated that all the findings had been reproduced.
Unfortunately, Shima claimed the original data are missing, because the institution that owned the information — Eyetech Research Center — has “since gone through several acquisitions.”
Ocular neovascularization occurs when growth signals in the eye stimulate the creation of many new blood vessels. Over time these blood vessels break, causing bleeding and scarring that limits vision. This is called “wet” macular degeneration.
The scientists found that giving patients drugs to limit two different growth factors at the same time is more effective than one at stopping the progression of AMD. This combination method is in stage three clinical trials, though with different drugs than the authors used here.
The paper, published in 2006, has been cited 130 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the EoC for “Inhibition of Platelet-Derived Growth Factor B Signaling Enhances the Efficacy of Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Therapy in Multiple Models of Ocular Neovascularization”:
It has been brought to our attention that Figure 10B of “Inhibition of Platelet-Derived Growth Factor B Signaling Enhances the Efficacy of Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Therapy in Multiple Models of Ocular Neovascularization,” by Nobuo Jo, Carolina Mailhos, Meihua Ju, Eunice Cheung, John Bradley, Kazuaki Nishijima, Gregory S. Robinson, Anthony P. Adamis, and David T. Shima (Volume 168, pages 2036–2053 of the June 2006 issue of The American Journal of Pathology) contains data errors, specifically the duplication of fluorescent images between the Prevention (A) and Regression (B) data points. The matter was reviewed by the journal’s Editors.
Corresponding author Dr. Shima brought this matter to the attention of the Editors. Dr. Shima states that “this was a genuine error, and we are confident in the actual quantitative data presented in the figure. Not only have other investigators reproduced combination data, we also presented in the article another experiment performed in a distinct set of studies using Gleevec (imatinib) as the PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor) antagonist. Finally, the combination therapy approach has been validated in a Phase 2b proof-of-concept study in neovascular AMD (age-related macular degeneration) patients and is currently in Phase 3 clinical trial (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/home, accession number NCT01940900).”
The authors report that they no longer have access to the original data, which was held by their employer Eyetech Research Center (Lexington, MA); Eyetech Research Center has since gone through several acquisitions.
1 A. Dong, C. Seidel, D. Snell, S. Ekawardhani, J.K. Ahlskog, M. Baumann, J. Shen, T. Iwase, J. Tian, R. Stevens, S.F. Hackett, M.T. Stumpp, P.A. Campochiaro
Antagonism of PDGF-BB suppresses subretinal neovascularization and enhances the effects of blocking VEGF-A Angiogenesis, 17 (2014), pp. 553–562
The notice had been paywalled on Science Direct, but after we reached out to the journal, they made it publicly available and sent us this note:
It is the policy of the Journal that all Corrections, Retractions, and Notes of Concern be freely available. We apologize for the error on the Science Direct platform and have asked the Publisher to release it for free access. The Note of Concern is freely available at http://ajp.amjpathol.org/
article/S0002-9440%2814% 2900680-4/fulltext and can be viewed there until the Science Direct site is updated.