An investigation at the University of New South Wales in Australia has led to a fifth retraction for a cancer researcher long accused of misconduct, due to “unresolvable concerns” with some images.
As we reported in December, UNSW cleared Levon Khachigian of misconduct, concluding that his previous issues stemmed from “genuine error or honest oversight.” Now, Circulation Research is retracting one of his papers after an investigation commissioned by UNSW was unable to find electronic records for two similar images from a 2009 paper, nor records of the images in original lab books.
Again, the retraction note affirms that this is not a sign of misconduct:
UNSW has not attributed any instance of research misconduct or responsibility for the unavailability of the original data to Professor Khachigian or to any of the authors of the publication.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry has a fairly gory correction — we’d call it a mega-correction — for a 2010 paper by Levon Khachigian, an Australian researcher whose studies of a new drug for skin cancer recently were halted over concerns about possible misconduct, including image manipulation. As we reported earlier this year, Khachigian has already lost four papers, including one in the JBC — which the journal simply noted had “been withdrawn by the authors.”
An Australian university has put a hold on trials of an experimental drug for skin cancer whose main developer has been dogged by charges of research misconduct for several years.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting that the University of New South Wales has suspended trials of the drug, DZ13, while it investigates the work of Levon Khachigian, who is leading the studies.
According to the news organization, Khachigian and his group were cleared by the school in two prior inquiries. However, additional accusations of misconduct — specifically involving image manipulation and misuse — prompted a third investigation.
We’ve found four retractions of Khachigian’s studies, from the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, between 2009 and 2010 (before the launch of Retraction Watch).