Earlier this year, the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center teamed up to write a letter.
Addressed to the editorial office at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), the letter, parts of which have been published in a retraction notice, contained information concerning two papers on genetic risk factors for a type of kidney cancer and a type of uterine cancer, respectively, published in different AACR journals over a decade ago by researchers affiliated with the institutions.
The papers had been at the center of research misconduct investigations at both UCSF and the VA and the investigations came to the conclusion that both papers contained:
fabrication or falsification of data that constitutes Research Misconduct.
A 2016 paper exploring the biology of prostate cancer has been retracted due to figure manipulation.
According to the retraction notice, a reader contacted the journal Clinical Cancer Research in late 2016 with concerns that similar bands appeared multiple times in two images. The editors asked the paper’s corresponding author, Shahriar Koochekpour, about the issue and requested the raw data for the figures. But Koochekpour, based in the Departments of Cancer Genetics and Urology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, at the time of the study, could not locate the raw data.
Since the lab did not have raw data from such a relatively recent paper, the editors reached out to the research integrity officer at Roswell Park Cancer Institute to investigate. Indeed, the research integrity officer contacted confirmed that two figures were problematic, and requested the paper be retracted.
When journals learn papers are problematic, how long does it take them to act?
We recently had a chance to find out as part of our continuing coverage of the case of Anil Jaiswal at the University of Maryland, who’s retracted 15 papers (including two new ones we recently identified), and has transitioned out of cancer research. Here’s what happened.
As part of a public records request related to the investigation, we received letters that the University of Maryland sent to 11 journals regarding 26 “compromised” papers co-authored by Jaiswal, four of which had been retracted by the time of the letter. The letters were dated between August and September 2016 (and one in February) — although, in some cases, the journals told us they received the letter later. Since that date, three journals have retracted nine papers and corrected another, waiting between four and six months to take action. One journal published an editorial note of concern within approximately two months after the university letter.
And six journals have not taken any public action.
A cancer journal has retracted a paper by a researcher who doctored data in 11 studies, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).
According to an investigation report released by the ORI last year, all 11 studies co-authored by Girija Dasmahapatra, formerly based at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, will either be retracted or corrected. In April, Dasmahapatra lost the first of the 11 papers flagged by the ORI in the journal Leukemia. Earlier this month, a second paper from the list was pulled by Clinical Cancer Research.
Dasmahapatra isn’t the only VCU researcher who’s been busy correcting the literature. All 11 papers mentioned in the ORI report list Steven Grant as last author; Paul Dent is a co-author of nine of these studies. Last month, we reported on a retraction in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC)and a mega-correction in Molecular Pharmacology issued for papers by Grant and Dent due to problems with images. Neither paper included Dasmahapatra as a co-author.
We’ve also previously reported on four other errata for image-related issues for papers by Dent (one of which lists Grant as a co-author). Now, we’ve come across another correction in JBC for the pair, which was published last month.
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced it plans to retract five papers by a former employee, after an investigation found duplicated images.
As first reported today by Leonid Schneider, Pfizer has asked to retract five papers from the lab of Min-Jean Yin, a cancer researcher. A spokesperson for the company confirmed to us that Yin had been fired:
…Min-Jean Yin’s employment has been terminated as a result of our investigation.
When the paper was published in 2003, first author Bhagavathi Narayanan worked at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in New York (also known as the American Health Foundation). But when the institute went broke the next year — thanks partly to lavish salaries and offices, as the New York Post reported — the authors claim they could no longer obtain back up for an image in the paper, once it was questioned years later by NYU, where Narayanan is now based.
A former cancer researcher has falsified data in 11 studies, according to the results of a investigation scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow.
The Office of Research Integrity’s findings are based on an inquiry at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Girija Dasmahapatra worked until July of this year, investigating possible therapies for cancer. The misconduct affected research funded by three grants from the National Institutes of Health. Steven Grant, a researcher at VCU, is the principal investigator on the grants, each of which total over $2 million in funding. All of the 11 affected papers will be corrected or retracted, according to the ORI notice.
A journal has issued a rather large correction — what we call “mega-correction” — to a 2014 paper on a gastric cancer biomarker that fixes problems with several of the study’s figures.
The authors write that despite the corrections, “the results and conclusions put forth in the article remain unchanged.”
The paper, “TMEFF2 Deregulation Contributes to Gastric Carcinogenesis and Indicates Poor Survival Outcome” explored the role of TMEFF2 in gastric cancer. The researchers found that the protein acts as a tumor suppressor, and low levels can indicate the presence of cancerous cells.
Here’s the full correction notice, published by Clinical Cancer Research in August: