June 2, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

iPS cell fraud Moriguchi confesses to lying about almost, but not quite everything

Hisashi Moriguchi, who claimed to have transplanted iPS cells into six human patients has now admitted that he lied about five of them according to a new Nature piece by excellent science writer David Cyranoski, on the strange case citing several Japanese newspaper articles as sources.

Quoted from a press conference yesterday in the Nature piece:

In a press conference in New York on Saturday, Moriguchi admitted that for five of the six patients he was discussing “planned” procedures rather than ones that had actually taken place. “I guess I got a little bit high. That was wrong,” he explained. “I admit that I lied.”

What the heck? What was this guy thinking? Or perhaps he wasn’t thinking at all.

And what’s the deal with the one supposed transplant that he still persists actually took place? There is good reason for skepticism about that. He also added people as authors onto his papers without their awareness or permission.

Moriguchi has more trouble related to publications where there is evidence he copied figures from others. He also claimed IRB approvals that were bogus.

Just how many ethical breaches can one person commit?

But I wonder–how did Moriguchi get his abstract accepted at the NYSCF meeting?

Regarding the one patient he still claimed (as quoted from the Nature piece) yesterday to have transplanted Moriguchi said:

“That one was real. I really did it,” he said. He admitted, however, that his “career as a researcher is probably over.”

That last bit about his career being over may be the one thing this guy got right.