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.
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:
A journal has removed an expression of concern for a 2011 paper after Karolinska Institutet (KI) “concluded no wrongdoing had occurred.”
In June, Journal of Cell Science (JCS) issued the expression of concern, after a reader contacted the editors with questions about the data in one of the figures. JCS investigated but could not resolve the issue, and in March 2017 turned the case over to KI where the authors are based.
The 2011 paper had already received a correction in 2016, citing inadvertent figure duplication.
A journal has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a 2011 cancer paper, while Karolinska Institutet investigates “concerns” about some of the data.
After the Journal of Cell Science (JCS) received a tip from a reader, it investigated, but was unable to resolve the concerns. So the journal asked KI–where all the authors work–to investigate further, and issued an EOC to alert readers that there may be an issue with the paper.
According to the notice, the questions center on data from Fig. 1A, but the notice does not specify the nature of the concerns. The 2011 paper received a correction in 2016, which cites inadvertent figure duplication.
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.
The Karolinska Institutet has dismissed former rising star surgeon Paolo Macchiarini from his post, effective immediately.
A KI news release, dated today, states:
The Staff Disciplinary Board at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to relieve Paolo Macchiarini of his duties as a researcher at KI. He is to be informed immediately that his contract has been rescinded.
Last week, The Lancet honored a co-author’s request to remove his name from Paolo Macchiarini’s seminal 2011 paper, which described the first transplant of an artificial trachea seeded with autologous stem cells but has since come under fire.
The Lancet has been contacted by Dr KH Grinnemo who was an author on the paper. Dr Grinnemo no longer wishes to be an author and asks for his name to be removed. This correction has been made to the online version as of March 3, 2016.
The paper has been cited 187 times, designating it “highly cited” by Thomson Reuters Web of Science.