A cancer researcher said she collected blood from 98 people. It was all her own.

A researcher collected her own blood and forged the labels so it would appear to be samples from nearly 100 people, according to a new finding of research misconduct released today by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

The former researcher at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center swapped her own blood samples for those taken from 98 human subjects. The misconduct affects two grant progress reports and two papers; one paper has already been retracted, and the former “research interviewer” — Maria Cristina Miron Elqutub — has agreed to correct or retract the other.

Adel El-Naggar, a co-author on both of the papers also based at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, told Retraction Watch:

Continue reading A cancer researcher said she collected blood from 98 people. It was all her own.

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

Caught Our Notice: Researcher who sued PubPeer commenter up to 21 retractions

Titles: 1) Notch-1 induces Epithelial-mesenchymal transition consistent with cancer stem cell phenotype in pancreatic cancer cells

2) Sensitization of squamous cell carcinoma to cisplatin induced killing by natural agents

What Caught Our Attention: Regular readers will be familiar with the saga involving Fazlul Sarkar and PubPeer: In 2014, Sarkar sued anonymous commenters on the site, claiming defamation (and that damaging comments may have cost him a new job). Although Sarkar won an initial ruling, it was overturned by an appeals court. In the midst of that, the ACLU (which represented PubPeer in the case) released a copy of a misconduct investigation report compiled by Sarkar’s institution, Wayne State University, which concluded that he had committed enough misconduct to warrant retracting 40 papers. The two latest notices, both of which cite Wayne State’s investigation, bring Sarkar’s total to 21.   Continue reading Caught Our Notice: Researcher who sued PubPeer commenter up to 21 retractions

Figures in cancer paper at root of newly failed compound called into question

How much role did a potentially problematic paper play in the demise of a once-promising compound?

Researchers are questioning the validity of a high-profile article, published by Nature in 2006. Although the letter is 12 years old, the concerns have current implications: It was among the early evidence used to develop a cancer compound that recently failed a number of clinical trials.

It’s unclear whether the problems with the paper — if validated — could have contributed to the compound’s demise. But an outside expert has some thoughts — and so do image experts and multiple external reports, including one released this month, which agree the concerns about the figures have merit. (The first author’s ex-husband isn’t too happy with the article, either.)

Continue reading Figures in cancer paper at root of newly failed compound called into question

UCSF-VA investigation finds misconduct in highly cited PNAS paper

PNAS has corrected a highly cited paper after an investigation found evidence of misconduct.

The investigationconducted jointly by the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Centeruncovered image manipulation in Figure 2D, which “could only have occurred intentionally.” The institutions, however, could not definitively attribute the research misconduct to any individual.

According to the notice, the UCSF-VA committee determined that a correction to the 2008 PNAS paperwhich explores the genetic underpinnings of prostate cancerwas “appropriate,” and the authors have now replaced the problematic figure with a corrected version. The 2008 paper has been cited 630 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

A spokesperson for PNAS told Retraction Watch: Continue reading UCSF-VA investigation finds misconduct in highly cited PNAS paper

“The ‘1’ key was not pressed hard enough:” Did a typo kill a cancer paper?

Errors in a 2017 paper about a new cancer test may have occurred because of a simple typo while performing calculations of the tool’s effectiveness.

According to the last author, the “1” key was likely not pressed hard enough.

The error, however small, affected key values “so greatly that the conclusions of the paper can no longer be supported,” the editor said, which prompted the journal to retract the paper. Continue reading “The ‘1’ key was not pressed hard enough:” Did a typo kill a cancer paper?

Cancer biologist retracts five papers

Samson Jacob

A cancer researcher based at The Ohio State University has retracted five papers from one journal, citing concerns about figures.

The notices for all five papers state the Journal of Biological Chemistry raised questions about some figures, and the authors were not able to supply raw data in all instances. Four of the notices say the authors offered to submit data from repeat experiments and corrected figures, which the journal declined.

According to Kaoru Sakabe, data integrity manager at JBC, the authors “agreed to withdraw these articles after we declined their offers.”

Continue reading Cancer biologist retracts five papers

Ethics, authorship concerns sink homeopathy paper by researchers arrested last year

For a host of reasons, a journal has retracted a paper co-authored by a researcher who reportedly once faced charges of practicing medicine without proper qualifications.

According to the retraction notice for “Psorinum Therapy in Treating Stomach, Gall Bladder, Pancreatic, and Liver Cancers: A Prospective Clinical Study,” published Dec. 8, 2010 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the paper was plagued by:

Continue reading Ethics, authorship concerns sink homeopathy paper by researchers arrested last year

Retraction count for Italian researcher swells to 15 as five papers fall

A researcher who is facing a criminal investigation in Italy for research misconduct has seen five more papers retracted, for a total of 16 15.

Molecular and Cellular Biology has retracted four papers published between 1987 to 2001 by Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy; the Journal of Virology retracted one 1985 paper. Fusco was first author on two papers and last author on three. Both journals are published by The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which issued identical retraction notices for all five papers, mentioning “evidence of apparent manipulation and duplication.”

Carlo Croce, a cancer researcher now at the Ohio State University, who has been dogged by misconduct allegations, co-authored one of the papers.  Croce now has eight retractions.

Here’s the notice presented for all five retractions: Continue reading Retraction count for Italian researcher swells to 15 as five papers fall

Cancer researcher under cloud of suspicion wins $300,000 science prize

Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, who has had numerous papers retracted and corrected for issues including image manipulation, has received an award for more than $300,000 for his achievements in personalized medicine.

The Dan David Prize, awarded earlier this month by a charitable organization based at Tel Aviv University, bestowed $1 million to three researchers who have “made pioneering and ground-breaking discoveries in the field of personalized medicine.”

Croce, chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics at The Ohio State University, shares this year’s award with two prominent researchersMary-Claire King, a professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Bert Vogelstein, a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Continue reading Cancer researcher under cloud of suspicion wins $300,000 science prize