Karolinska Lets Macchiarini Go

The embattled artificial organ researcher has been dismissed over the fallout from several misconduct allegations leveled against him.

Mar 24, 2016
Bob Grant

An artificial trachea, similar to those transplanted by Macchiarini, made by seeding an inorganic scaffold with stem cellsUCLThe Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm, Sweden, has parted ways with thoracic surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, stating that he “engaged in conduct and research that is incompatible with a position of employment at KI.”

Macchiarini was once billed as a pioneer in artificial organ transplantation, seeding inorganic trachea scaffolds with patients’ own stem cells and then introducing the resulting organ into patients with compromised respiratory systems. But allegations of misconduct dogged his work, patients he had implanted with artificial tracheae died, and several investigations found varying degrees of truth to claims of malfeasance. In the end, though, the hubbub surrounding Macchiarini was too much for the institute. “It’s impossible for KI to have any kind of collaboration with Paolo Macchiarini any longer,” Mats Engelbrektson, of the KI human resources department, said in a statement announcing the departure. “He has acted in a way that has had very tragic consequences for the people affected and their families. His conduct has seriously damaged confidence in KI and for research in general.”

(Hat tip: Retraction Watch)