Scientist Fabricates Cancer Data

A postdoc at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital is found guilty of falsifying his findings in a lung cancer study.

By | June 1, 2012

image: Scientist Fabricates Cancer Data Flickr, Michael Pereckas

FLICKR, MICHAEL PERECKAS

A former research fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School committed research misconduct, according to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), which announced its findings in yesterday’s Federal Register.

Based on evidence collected from a joint investigation by Brigham and Harvard, the ORI concluded that Jian Ma “knowingly and intentionally fabricated and falsified data.” Ma falsified immunoblots in an unpublished manuscript investigating a gene’s involvement in lung cancer sensitivity to a drug called rapamycin. The paper containing the falsified data was submitted to the Journal of Clinical Investigation in August 2008, but it was subsequently withdrawn by one of the authors in January 2009 prior to publication. The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

The experiments were subsequently redone, reanalyzed, and published in March 2010 in Oncogene, with Ma still listed as an author.

Ma, who is no longer affiliated with either institution, according to the Boston Globe, is now subject to a 3-year probationary period, in which he can participate in government-funded research only under strict supervision, according to the Register, and he may not serve on any government peer review or advisory committees.

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Comments

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

June 1, 2012

ANYONE who fabricates data in a medical study should be charged.

"Jurors found him guilty Thursday of the attempted manslaughter charge, along with charges of attempted aggravated child abuse, child abuse, simple assault"

Avatar of: JustAskAlice

JustAskAlice

Posts: 5

June 1, 2012

These penalties are not severe enough. Anyone found guilty of falsifying data should be prohibited from receiving ANY further government funding and should be placed on a list for all future employers to see.

Avatar of: Bill

Bill

Posts: 1457

June 1, 2012

If he's here on a visa send him back to China.  We have too many scientists already to keep around a dishonest scumbag like him.

Avatar of: q pang

q pang

Posts: 1

June 7, 2012

What about his supervisor? Any probation? What about his supervisor's NCI/NIH funding? Any withdrawal? Why not only released the postdoc's name instead of the full info of the lab where the poor postdoc was in?

Avatar of: Scientific

Scientific

Posts: 1457

June 16, 2012

Well, even a scumbag can have a sad story behind the scene. Let's imagine if one is under the pressure from top down to make things up, he really doesn't have much option if his job is at stake. Anyone ever cares to scrutinize all the publications from the two groups who published the retracted paper? Get the supervisors? Nah...The scapegoat is already sacrificed. The "good scientists" can continue to cook more stories and kill more patients.

Avatar of: Scientific

Scientific

Posts: 1457

June 16, 2012

Well, even a scumbag can have a sad story behind the scene. Let's imagine if one is under the pressure from top down to make things up, he really doesn't have much option if his job is at stake. Anyone ever cares to scrutinize all the publications from the two groups who published the retracted paper? Get the supervisors? Nah...The scapegoat is already sacrificed. The "good scientists" can continue to cook more stories and kill more patients.

Avatar of: Bill

Bill

Posts: 1457

July 13, 2012

 That's garbage.  Postdocs know right from wrong.  If you feel squeamish about it don't do it.  It's that simple.

Avatar of: corrigible

corrigible

Posts: 42

August 29, 2012

There are degrees of falsification, but it's a slippery slope. As for me, I left the highest paying, fastest promotion job I ever had, when I was ordered behind closed doors to do something unethical. I never got anywhere near that salary again. A brother of mine was promoted to a corporate exec position and, the very next day, was presented with a blueprint that had been stolen from a competitor. He refused, was demoted back to his former position and literally feared for his life.
There ARE consequences of not being a "team player," where industrial espionage and an unfettered profit motive apply.
My brother "survived" and I "survived." And, if presented with the same kinds of situations would do it over again.
But we both were exceptions rather than the rule. Our co-workers were "team players."
We both are skeptical when we hear people talk about how the guys who cheat ought to be run out of Dodge, so to speak. We each have seen too much and have known too many, to perceive that everyone who wants to burn the bad guys has no dirty laundry of his own.
Lots of those who talk the loudest about the bad guys just never got exposed for making hundreds of little concessions in the name of "efficiency" or "for the good of the company," or some such.
If every little fudge got exposed some of the leading industries, and the U. S. Congress and the White House would nothing but empty rooms.
Some of us just got raised, like my brother and me, and our sister, too, to be misfits.
We're not special, or good. We just have consciences that impeded us in "getting ahead" in research and business.
Let each reader of this go to a quiet place, relax, take a deep breath, and think about it.
Nobody is perfect. The only difference may be that some of us can't "play the game" as well as others and like themselves. Some of the most successful people we know are simply less encumbered with consciences.
As to those who feel good about pulling something off and not getting caught, some social Darwinist thinkers admire and want to emulate them.
Let the purely innocent do all the stone casting.
(:>)

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