Cancer researcher under cloud of suspicion wins $300,000 science prize

Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, who has had numerous papers retracted and corrected for issues including image manipulation, has received an award for more than $300,000 for his achievements in personalized medicine.

The Dan David Prize, awarded earlier this month by a charitable organization based at Tel Aviv University, bestowed $1 million to three researchers who have “made pioneering and ground-breaking discoveries in the field of personalized medicine.”

Croce, chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics at The Ohio State University, shares this year’s award with two prominent researchersMary-Claire King, a professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Bert Vogelstein, a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

According to his award profile, Crocehas made major contributions to the understanding of the specific genetic bases of specific cancers.”

However, Croce has also been dodging misconduct accusations for decades, and his work continues to face scrutiny. By our count, Croce now has seven retractions, including one from last August for “errors that occurred in the construction” of several images. Croce has denied any wrongdoing, and is currently suing the New York Times over an article it ran about the allegations, along with a professor at Purdue University who served as a key source for the Times story.

Ori Cheshnovsky, the scientific advisor for the Dan David Prize, told Retraction Watch that everyone involved “was aware of Dr. Croce’s retractions and the allegations:”

The international ad-hoc committee for Personalized Medicine composed of the most respected, top scientists, recommended to award the Prize to Prof. Carlo Croce in view of his proven singular contributions to Personalized Medicine. The Dan David Prize Board accepted the committee’s recommendation.

This is not the first time Croce has received a notable award since the allegations came to light. Last year, the American Association for Cancer Research bestowed Croce with the prestigious Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, which “recognizes a true champion of cancer research.” 

The committee that recommended Croce for the Dan David Prize was chaired by one of Croce’s long-time collaborators Peter Vogt, who runs a lab at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. (Vogt and Croce were coauthors on a 2017 paper in PNAS). Croce has also co-authored several papers with two other members of the committee—Webster K. Cavenee and Nancy Jenkins.

Here’s more about the decision, according to Dan David’s profile of Croce:

[Croce] is a pioneer in the unraveling of the molecular basis of a number of lymphoma and leukemia cancers. Mastering both cytogenetics and molecular biology, he identified the role of major oncogenes as drivers of cancer development, progression and resistance to therapy.

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3 thoughts on “Cancer researcher under cloud of suspicion wins $300,000 science prize”

  1. Oncogene. 2004 Jul 22;23(33):5703-6.
    v-Jun targets showing an expression pattern that correlates with the transformed cellular phenotype.
    Iacovoni JS1, Cohen SB, Berg T, Vogt PK.
    Author information

    Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

    Figure 2.

  2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Sep 14;101(37):13613-7. Epub 2004 Sep 1.
    Proteasomal degradation of the FoxO1 transcriptional regulator in cells transformed by the P3k and Akt oncoproteins.
    Aoki M1, Jiang H, Vogt PK.
    Author information

    Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

    Figure 2.

  3. 8th retraction for Carlo M Croce.

    Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Apr;21(7):2485-95.
    Critical role of the HMGI(Y) proteins in adipocytic cell growth and differentiation.
    Melillo RM1, Pierantoni GM, Scala S, Battista S, Fedele M, Stella A, De Biasio MC, Chiappetta G, Fidanza V, Condorelli G, Santoro M, Croce CM, Viglietto G, Fusco A.
    Author information

    Rosa Marina Melillo1, Giovanna Maria Pierantoni1, Stefania Scala1, Sabrina Battista1, Monica Fedele1, Antonella Stella2, Maria Cristina De Biasio3, Gennaro Chiappetta3, Vincenzo Fidanza4, Gianluigi Condorelli4, Massimo Santoro1, Carlo M. Croce4, Giuseppe Viglietto3 and Alfredo Fusco2*

    Author Affiliations
    Centro di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Dipartimento di Biologiae Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare, Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia, Università degli Studi di Napoli,1 and
    Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori Fondazione Senatore Pascale,3 80131 Naples, and
    Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica, Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia di Catanzaro, Universitàdegli Studi di Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro,2Italy, and
    Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 191074

    2018 retraction notice.

    Volume 21, no. 7, p. 2485–2495, 2001, The publisher hereby retracts this article. Questions have been raised by concerned readers about the integrity of the data. The American Society for Microbiology has reviewed the figures and confirmed evidence of apparent manipulation and duplication. Since the integrity of the data as presented was compromised, this publication is retracted in its entirety. We apologize to the readers of Molecular and Cellular Biology and regret any inconvenience that this causes. The authors did not agree to this retraction.

    2018 retraction notice.

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