Caught Our Notice: Researcher who once threatened to sue Retraction Watch now up to 19 retractions

Title: Curcumin-Free Turmeric Exhibits Activity against Human HCT-116 Colon Tumor Xenograft: Comparison with Curcumin and Whole Turmeric

What Caught Our Attention: We haven’t heard much about Bharat Aggarwal since his seven retractions in 2016 propelled him onto our leaderboard (and long after he threatened to sue Retraction Watch for our reporting). There was a whisper of a mention, when his name was listed as one of the organizers of a cancer conference from which MD Anderson (his former employer) had to publicly distance themselves as a co-sponsor. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Researcher who once threatened to sue Retraction Watch now up to 19 retractions

MD Anderson: No, we did not co-sponsor this cancer conference

Bharat Aggarwal

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, of Houston, is asking a conference on cancer in Chennai, India to stop claiming it is a co-sponsor.

The meeting was the subject of a story in The New Indian Express, which reported that Baba Ramdev, a prominent yogi “who had claimed that cancer is divine justice for sins committed,” would be the chief guest at the meeting. Ramdev is scheduled to address the conference for 45 minutes this Thursday, its opening day.

As the story noted, one of the organizers of the meeting is Bharat Aggarwal, a former MD Anderson faculty member who has had to retract 18 papers, mostly for image manipulation.

I raised concerns about the conference yesterday (Sunday) on Twitter. MD Anderson responded within hours to say first that they were looking into the matter, and then to say that while it had sponsored the conference in the past, it was not sponsoring it this year: Continue reading MD Anderson: No, we did not co-sponsor this cancer conference

Seven retractions for prominent cancer researcher brings total to 18

Bharat Aggarwal
Bharat Aggarwal

A cancer researcher has earned seven more retractions following an investigation into his work by his former employer, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, bringing his total to 18 retractions.

Bharat Aggarwal‘s name will be familiar to some readers, as he has threatened to sue Retraction Watch for reporting on his case.

All of the new retraction notices, issued by The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), stem from image-related issues. The now-retired Aggarwal has seven papers that have each been cited at least 1,000 times, and in 2015, he was on Thomson Reuters Web of Science’s list of The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds. With these new notices, he also has made it to our leaderboard of individual researchers who’ve racked up the most retractions.

An MD Anderson spokesperson sent us this statement: Continue reading Seven retractions for prominent cancer researcher brings total to 18

Here’s why this lawyer defends scientists accused of misconduct

Paul S. Thaler
Paul S. Thaler

More scientists are trying to settle accusations of misconduct in court, a trend very familiar to Washington, DC-based lawyer Paul Thaler. Regular readers may recall the name of one of Thaler’s clients — Rakesh Kumar, a scientist at George Washington University who filed an $8 million lawsuit for how the school handled an investigation into his work. He’s also representing Bharat Aggarwal, the subject of an investigation at MD Anderson who has threatened to sue us (and logged his ninth retraction this week). For 25 years, Thaler has been representing scientists embroiled in misconduct proceedings. He spoke to us about his family’s highly pedigreed background in science, and why everyone deserves an advocate.  

Some of your clients have committed misconduct, but you still work to protect their reputations and even help them continue to do research. Why? 

Continue reading Here’s why this lawyer defends scientists accused of misconduct

Highly cited cancer researcher logs 8th, 9th retractions

Bharat Aggarwal
Bharat Aggarwal

Bharat Aggarwal, a highly cited cancer researcher who retired last year from MD Anderson, has logged two retractions following an investigation into his work, bringing his total to nine.

Aggarwal has threatened to sue us in the past, and told us that MD Anderson has been investigating his work. Earlier this year, Biochemical Pharmacology retracted seven studies of which he is the only common author, noting the “data integrity has become questionable.” Now, he’s earned two more retractions in Molecular Pharmacology, both for “inappropriate” or “unacceptable” image manipulation.

Both of the notices are paywalled (tsk, tsk). Here’s one for “Flavopiridol suppresses tumor necrosis factor-induced activation of activator protein-1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), p44/p42 MAPK, and Akt, inhibits expression of antiapoptotic gene products, and enhances apoptosis through cytochrome c release and caspase activation in human myeloid cells:” Continue reading Highly cited cancer researcher logs 8th, 9th retractions

Author with seven retractions makes Thomson Reuters list of top scientists — plus another twist

aggarwal
Bharat Aggarwal

A cancer researcher who recently retired from MD Anderson Cancer Center —  and also recently lost seven papers from one journal following a multi-year investigation — is one of the world’s top scientists, according to a new ranking.

In Thomson Reuters Web of Science’s 2015 list of The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds, Bharat Aggarwal’s name tops the section for Pharmacology and Toxicology (see p. 89). In all fairness, the list is presented in alphabetical order, and seven of Aggarwal’s papers have each been cited at least 1,000 times. But in addition to his recent seven retractions, he has has six corrections, two unexplained withdrawals, and two Expressions of Concern.

We contacted Thomson Reuters Web of Science to inquire, and a spokesperson told us: Continue reading Author with seven retractions makes Thomson Reuters list of top scientists — plus another twist

Journal retracts 7 papers by MD Anderson cancer researcher long under investigation

aggarwal
Bharat Aggarwal

An MD Anderson Cancer Center researcher who has been under investigation by the institution for at least several years has had seven papers retracted from a single journal.

Bharat Aggarwal told us in 2012 that MD Anderson was investigating his work, but in 2013 threatened to sue us for reporting on the case. Aggarwal is no longer listed in the MD Anderson directory, and an email to him there bounced.

This week, Biochemical Pharmacology retracted seven studies of which he is the only common author, noting the “data integrity has become questionable.” The papers have been cited a total of more than 500 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge; one has been designated as “highly cited.” Here are the seven retractions: Continue reading Journal retracts 7 papers by MD Anderson cancer researcher long under investigation

MD Anderson researcher Aggarwal up to six corrections

cover (2)A highly cited cancer researcher at MD Anderson has notched three major corrections, all associated with problems in figures. One note cites “human error” as the cause.

Bharat Aggarwal is the last author on all three papers. He is now up to six corrections, two unexplained withdrawals, and two Expressions of Concern. He’s also threatened to sue us in the past, and has told us that his institution has been looking into his work.

Only one note specifies that the correction does not affect the paper’s conclusions.

First up: “Inhibition of growth and survival of human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells by curcumin via modulation of nuclear factor-κB signaling,” published in the International Journal of Cancer and cited 168 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The issues span two figures, according to the erratum note:

Continue reading MD Anderson researcher Aggarwal up to six corrections

Cancer researcher who threatened to sue Retraction Watch corrects another paper

aggarwalBharat Aggarwal, the MD Anderson researcher who has threatened to sue Retraction Watch for writing about issues in his papers, has corrected another study.

Here’s the notice for “Induction of Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis by the Proteasome Inhibitor PS-341 in Hodgkin Disease Cell Lines Is Independent of Inhibitor of Nuclear Factor-κB Mutations or Activation of the CD30, CD40, and RANK Receptors:” Continue reading Cancer researcher who threatened to sue Retraction Watch corrects another paper

Two Expressions of Concern in Blood for MD Anderson’s Aggarwal, who has threatened to sue Retraction Watch

aggarwalBharat Aggarwal, the MD Anderson researcher who has threatened to sue us while under investigation by his institution for alleged misconduct, now has two Expressions of Concern in addition to two corrections and two unexplained withdrawals.

Both of the papers were published in Blood. The Expression of Concern for “Gambogic acid, a novel ligand for transferrin receptor, potentiates TNF-induced apoptosis through modulation of the nuclear factor-κB signaling pathway,” reads: Continue reading Two Expressions of Concern in Blood for MD Anderson’s Aggarwal, who has threatened to sue Retraction Watch