Macchiarini, 3 co-authors found guilty of misconduct in 2015 paper

The Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has declared that once-lauded surgeon Paolo Macchiarini and three co-authors committed misconduct in a 2015 paper.

The decision by KI’s vice chancellor will be followed by a request to retract the paper, published by the journal Respiration.

In the paper, the researchers described the case of a man with an acute lung disorder, in which he received an experimental treatment involving the use of his own blood-derived cells and the drug erythropoietin, which stimulates the production of red blood cells. The patient “demonstrated an immediate, albeit temporary, clinical improvement,” according to the authors. However, he ultimately died of multisystem organ failure.

Continue reading Macchiarini, 3 co-authors found guilty of misconduct in 2015 paper

Swedish review board finds misconduct by Macchiarini, calls for six retractions

Paolo Macchiarini

An ethical review board in Sweden is asking journals to retract six papers co-authored by former star surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, after concluding that he and his co-authors committed misconduct.

One of the papers is the seminal 2011 article in The Lancet, which described the first case of a transplant using an artificial trachea seeded with the patient’s own stem cells, and now bears an expression of concern from The Lancet editors. Over time, multiple authors have asked to be removed from the paper.

The Expert Group on Scientific Misconduct at the Central Ethical Review Board has determined that concerns over that paper — and five others co-authored by Macchiarini, once based at the Karolinska Institutet (KI) — were justified. In a press release, it says:

Continue reading Swedish review board finds misconduct by Macchiarini, calls for six retractions

“It’s been three tough years:” Macchiarini whistleblower cleared of previous charges

Karl-Henrik Grinnemo

Karl-Henrik Grinnemo was worried. The doctor and clinical researcher at the Karolinska Institute was working with a high-profile surgeon who was performing a potentially life-saving procedure on patients, but Grinnemo saw that the patients weren’t doing very well. So in 2013, Grinnemo and three other doctors raised concerns about the work of Paolo Macchiarini. The surgeon initially fought back, and accused Grinnemo of misconduct. KI sided with the star surgeon, and found Grinnemo guilty of “carelessness” in a grant application to the Swedish Research Council, including plagiarism. Readers should by now know how the story ends – Macchiarini’s work has since been largely discredited. Recently, to clear his name, Grinnemo asked authorities to take a second look at his case – and he has been exonerated. We talked to him about the last few tumultuous years. 

Retraction Watch: How does the story begin?

Continue reading “It’s been three tough years:” Macchiarini whistleblower cleared of previous charges

Macchiarini blames Karolinska for losing data as he retracts 2014 paper

Ask and ye shall receive: A journal has retracted a 2014 paper by Paolo Macchiarini, upon request from the Karolinska Institutet (KI).

The latest news is only one step in a long-running saga about former star surgeon Macchiarini, who was dismissed from KI last year. To read more, check out our timeline.

KI announced it was asking the journal to pull the paper late last year, after concluding that four authors — including Macchiarini — were guilty of scientific misconduct. The paper had already been flagged by the journal with an expression of concern, noting the data presented in the paper may not be “fully representative” of the experiments.

Today, the journal issued a retraction notice, saying the authors wanted to retract the paper. All of the authors who could be reached have agreed to the retraction, including Macchiarini.

Here’s more from the notice:

Continue reading Macchiarini blames Karolinska for losing data as he retracts 2014 paper

Karolinska requests retraction of 2014 Macchiarini paper

Paolo Macchiarini

It has been a tough couple of years for surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, once lauded for pioneering a groundbreaking procedure to transplant tracheas.

After a series of documentaries prompted his former employer, Karolinska Institutet (KI), to reopen a misconduct investigation against him, KI has today released one verdict regarding a 2014 Nature Communications paper: guilty.

KI said it is contacting the journal to request a retraction of the paper, which has already been flagged with an expression of concern.

Here’s more from a release from the institution: Continue reading Karolinska requests retraction of 2014 Macchiarini paper

Macchiarini paper in Nature journal earns expression of concern for data questions

nature-communications-228x300Nature Communications has issued an expression of concern for a 2014 paper by beleaguered surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, citing concerns over whether the paper accurately reports the experiments that were carried out.

According to the notice, Macchiarini, a former rising star in the field of transplant medicine, agrees with the expression of concern. Three of his 22 co-authors have objected.

Experimental orthotopic transplantation of a tissue-engineered oesophagus in rats” describes transplanting an esophagus into rats that was seeded with their own stem cells, and notes that all animals survived the study period (14 days), and gained more weight than rats given a placebo operation. It’s a topic Macchiarini has made famous, as the first surgeon to perform a similar procedure with a human tracheal transplant. But he’s faced charges of misconduct in the last few years, resulting in his dismissal from Karolinska Institutet (KI).

Here’s the text of the notice, scheduled to go live at 10 a.m. UK time today: Continue reading Macchiarini paper in Nature journal earns expression of concern for data questions

Meet the filmmakers who cracked open the case against star surgeon Macchiarini

svtlogo-black_v2Paolo Macchiarini — once a world-renowned surgeon for creating tracheas from cadavers and patients’ own stem cells – has been dogged for years by accusations of misconduct. Officials at his institution, Karolinska Institute, initially cleared him of many charges, but that all changed earlier this year, when Swedish Television (SVT) aired a series of documentaries about Macchiarini and his work. The series alleged, in part, that he operated on patients in Russia whose conditions were not life-threatening enough to warrant such a risky procedure. Such serious accusations caused a media storm, and prompted officials to take a second look at Macchiarini’s work. KI dismissed Macchiarini, and many others have resigned, including KI’s vice chancellor. Recently, two new reports critiqued KI’s role in the case, and Sweden’s Central Ethical Review Board found Macchiarini guilty of misconduct in a 2014 paper. We spoke with SVT producers Bosse Lindquist and Johannes Hallbom via email about the fallout from their series.

Retraction Watch: Your documentary series has caused quite a storm: A series of resignations and renewed investigations have followed. Are you surprised by the reaction? Continue reading Meet the filmmakers who cracked open the case against star surgeon Macchiarini

Macchiarini did not obtain necessary ethics approvals, says Swedish Research Council

lancetSurgeon Paolo Macchiarini did not apply for the necessary ethics approval to perform the pioneering transplants he’s known for, according to the Swedish Research Council.

Chief Legal Counsel Anna Hörnlund, who wrote a letter in this week’s The Lancet, says Macchiarini’s work needed to obtain ethical approval from one of six regional ethical review boards, as required by Swedish law — and neither Macchiarini nor his former employer, Karolinska Institutet, did so:

Continue reading Macchiarini did not obtain necessary ethics approvals, says Swedish Research Council

Poll: Should co-authors of a scientific paper be allowed to change their minds?

lancetSince we reported Friday that multiple authors had asked to remove their names from a high-profile 2011 Lancet paper about a risky transplant surgery, a few readers have wondered: Should this be allowed?

To recap: The same day the journal announced it was tagging the controversial paper with an expression of concern, it issued a new erratum about the paper, removing three author names (one had already asked to be removed earlier). The highly cited paper has been under scrutiny ever since the last author, Paolo Macchiarini, has been facing allegations of misconduct, which most recently led to Macchiarini’s dismissal from the Karolinska Institutet. (Here’s our timeline of events to keep you abreast.)

It’s not surprising that a few of Macchiarini’s co-authors would want to distance themselves from this ever-expanding scandal, but should authors who originally signed onto a paper be able to change their minds? Let us know in our poll, below. Continue reading Poll: Should co-authors of a scientific paper be allowed to change their minds?

Lancet issues expression of concern for 2011 Macchiarini paper

Paolo Macchiarini
Paolo Macchiarini

The Lancet has tagged an expression of concern onto a seminal 2011 paper by Paolo Macchiarini, the Italian surgeon whose work and conduct outside the operating room has earned months of  heavy criticism that recently culminated in his dismissal from the Karolinska Institutet.

Tracheobronchial transplantation with a stem-cell-seeded bioartificial nanocomposite: a proof-of-concept study,” which described the first case of a transplant using an artificial trachea seeded with the patient’s own stem cells, now bears an expression of concern from The Lancet editors, citing ongoing investigations. The journal has also removed three more authors from the paper, upon their request.

The expression of concern essentially presents the timeline of the controversy that led the journal to make this move:

Continue reading Lancet issues expression of concern for 2011 Macchiarini paper