The cardiac stem cell field has had a rough run in recent months. Not only have scientists piled up evidence that cardiac stem cells don’t exist, but one of the leading proponents of the cells has just had a dozen papers retracted.
On Wednesday, Circulation pulled three papers from the lab of Piero Anversa, formerly at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, while Circulation Research retracted 10. Retraction Watch notes that Anversa was not a coauthor on one of the papers, but it came from his lab.
The retractions come after Harvard and Brigham and Women’s concluded an internal investigation and recommended in October that 31 of Anversa’s publications be rescinded because of fraudulent data. A clinical trial based on discoveries that came from Anversa’s lab was also put on hold.
Among the retracted studies are two 2010 Circulation Research papers (each cited more than 300 times, according to Google Scholar) claiming the human heart had a significant amount of muscle cell turnover each year.
In October, Anversa defended the science and claimed innocence in an interview with The New York Times, placing the blame for manipulated images on a colleague, Jan Kajstura.