It’s very challenging to be an academic scientist even under normal circumstances so when a government starts going after researchers for things like supposed irregularities in funding disclosures, it can cause serious problems if not carefully overseen.
We’ll start this week’s recommended reads with the feds monitoring such disclosures and even making referrals to the DOJ for investigations. In a new case it involves a stem cell researcher.
Stem cell scientist suspended pending investigation
Yale has placed well known stem cell biologist Haifan Lin on paid leave while the NIH and DOJ investigate supposed undisclosed funding from China. Many at Yale are publicly supporting Lin.
While it’s not clear if this action is part of the controversial “China Initiative” program that has run into its own problems, this move could send a chilling effect on researchers.
I don’t know the facts of the case, but more broadly I worry that the feds may be heading down the wrong path with some of these investigations of alleged undisclosed foreign funding.
I met Haifan when I was on the job market back in 2005 during a visit to Duke. We had a great talk and I have a lot of respect for him and his work.
Recommended research papers
Washington Attorney General sues Seattle stem cell clinic
Seattle stem-cell therapy company falsely marketed treatment for COVID-19, WA AG says in lawsuit, Seattle Times. I’ve written before about the growing number of stem cell clinics in the Seattle area and in Washington State more generally. It’s good to see the Attorney General there taking some action. From the article:
“Attorney General Bob Ferguson named US Stemology, which runs the Seattle Stem Cell Center in Lower Queen Anne, and company owner Dr. Tami Meraglia in the lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court.
According to the complaint, US Stemology and Meraglia charged 107 patients for giving them “unproven” stem-cell treatments for COVID, diabetes, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other serious medical conditions. Some people were charged up to $10,000 out of pocket for participating in the clinic’s “patient funded research,” the complaint says.”
I guess the name of the clinic company US Stemology is supposed to imply the study of stem cells. There’s that “ology” in there. However, does the company have a scientist who does research or clinical trials?
Stem cell scientist Chuck Murry of the UW and Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine in Seattle has taken on a major role in combating the clinics up there. These efforts included working on a bill to help consumers.
Like many metro areas the Seattle region has had various clinics pop up. I wrote before about how one Seattle stem cell clinic went so far as to quote the FDA Commissioner at the time in their advertisement.