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Guilty: stem cell researcher

A former member of a high profile stem cell biology research team at the University of Minnesota has been found guilty of falsifying data, a university investigatory panel has ruled. Morayma Reyes, a former PhD student in the lab of prominent stem cell biologist linkurl:Catherine Verfaillie,;http://www.kuleuven.be/cv/u0048658e.htm was under investigation by the university for fabricating data in a linkurl:2002 Nature paper;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&cmd=Se

By | October 7, 2008

A former member of a high profile stem cell biology research team at the University of Minnesota has been found guilty of falsifying data, a university investigatory panel has ruled. Morayma Reyes, a former PhD student in the lab of prominent stem cell biologist linkurl:Catherine Verfaillie,;http://www.kuleuven.be/cv/u0048658e.htm was under investigation by the university for fabricating data in a linkurl:2002 Nature paper;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&cmd=Search&term=%22Nature%22[Jour]%20AND%202002[pdat]%20AND%20Reyes%20M[author] which identified a certain type of bone marrow stem cell capable of giving rise to every type of cell in the body. It was the first time that adult stem cells had been shown to be pluripotent -- only embryonic stem cells had displayed that capability before. After the results were published, other researchers had trouble replicating the findings. Early in 2007, a New Scientist reporter noticed that some data resembled data in a patent claim, data in another paper in the journal Experimental Hematology from 2001, and data in an article in the journal Blood. The magazine linkurl:raised the issue;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/52892/ with Nature and the university. An investigation last year conducted by the university found that the duplication in Experimental Hematology was not a result of misconduct. In June of last year, linkurl:Nature retracted the figures;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53279/ in question from the paper, stating that they did not affect the overall findings of the paper. The current report issued by the University of Minnesota panel states that Reyes is guilty of falsifying the data in Blood, and calls for the article's retraction. It also found the same data in a fourth article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, although did not rule that a case of misconduct. The panel cleared Verfaillie and the other authors on the papers of fraud. "I have initiated a number of additional oversight measures designed to further enhance the integrity of research and scientific publications coming from my lab," Verfaillie, now at Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium linkurl:told New Scientist.;http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/dn14886-stemcell-researcher-guilty-of-falsifying-data.html?feedId=online-news_rss20 "I am confident that these measures will avoid the recurrence of a similar problem in the future." No action has been set against Reyes, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Washington, Seattle.
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Comments

October 10, 2008

Mariyama Reyes now must react. Either she should contest the flaws in investigation procedure or else enter the "Hall of Shame" gracefully. In either case she will be the subscriber to the TRUTH; the very purpose of Science. Those under a dark cloud must not sit on the fence under the veil of any possible benefit of doubt.\nDr. S.M. Sapatnekar
Avatar of: Robert Pytlik

Robert Pytlik

Posts: 7

October 11, 2008

These findings are very sad for me personally, as I have been involved in studying mesenchymal stem cells, similar type of cells Reyes worked with, for some time. I remember very well than when her results were published, they brought a lot of excitement about "adult stem cells" and I think I have read all the articles where she was listed as the first author. However, my friend from the University of Minnesota, who was a member of the same research team, told me some time ago that there were certain questions about reproducibility of Reyes´methods in the rest of the team even at the time when the papers were published. Anyway, the multipotent adult progenitor cells would probably never fulfill the expectations of stem cell therapists even if the results were not fabricated - their preparation is long and cumbersome and it is unclear if they could be expanded to clinically relevant numbers. The induced pluripotent cells might become a better tool for stem cell therapy, if the questions about their safety could be answered satisfactory.

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