January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

retractions

3 min read

This week we have some interesting new reading including both on the stem cell basic and translational fronts as well as on COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccine considerations From Derek Lowe at In The Pipeline on COVID-19 vaccine expectations at Science Translational Medicine, Get Ready for False Side Effects. You can read my views on possible side effects of RNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, which I conclude are low or hypothetical. Stem cell tinkering and aging From Heidi Ledford at Nature, Reversal of biological clock restores vision …Read More

4 min read

Something very strange just happened at the journal Nature related to what’s called Muse cells. Kudos to them for dealing with it quickly though. They published an unreviewed research “article” on controversial (perhaps non-existent) stem cells called “Muse cells” that was actually a paid advertisement. After I communicated with the Nature team eventually they ended up pulling down the ad/article as of today. How can a research article be an advertisement? I don’t think it should be possible. An “ad/article”? Of course, research journals run …Read More

3 min read

Remember when the Piero Anversa situation first made news or at least when you first heard about it? In the public domain, it was back around April 2014. I didn’t even do a whole post on it, but rather it made two bullet points in a post about a set of bad overall news including the latest at the time on the growing mess from STAP cells.  However, clearly there were concerns about this Anversa thing well before 2014. What took so long? In my 2014 post here …Read More

3 min read

In a stunner, Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital reportedly have jointly called for the retraction of 31 papers on heart stem cell research authored by embattled heart stem cell researcher Piero Anversa. The scoop on this by STAT/Retraction Watch written by Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus gives further details on this mess and past travails of Anversa. He was the prime proponent of the idea of endogenous heart stem cells in adults, but things have gone south since his prime time as a …Read More

2 min read

Over at RetractionWatch, their team does a great job following retractions of science papers. Sadly, the number of published manuscript retractions gives them more than enough material to post several times a day. There’s another phenomenon going on that I think might warrant their increased attention: the possibly rising number of retractions or corrections of science press releases (PR). Gary Schwitzer, over at Health News Review, is reviewing science PRs, which is really interesting reading. I highly recommend that you check it out. While recent data …Read More

2 min read

Just how often do press releases (PR) get science wrong? A new paper came out from the lab of Matthias Lutolf in Nature Materials that seems interesting. Using a special matrix, reprogramming of cells reportedly worked better. Good stuff. However, a (PR) from the home institution of EPFL and media pick up on the story used unfortunate language that evoked the STAP cell mess of 2014 regarding this new paper. For instance the PR is poorly entitled “squeezing cells into stem cells” and it had …Read More

6 min read

The last two years at Nature Magazine have seen a surprising wave of paper retractions. In 2013 and now just so far in 2014, Nature has retracted a total of 14 papers. How unusual is that? Historically, Nature retracts relatively few papers, perhaps just under two per year on average. What the heck has been going on in 2013-2014? Let’s break it down. Last year in 2013, Nature retracted six papers, an unusually large number. Just year-to-date in 2014, things seem to have gone from bad to worse as Nature has already retracted eight …Read More

3 min read

The Obokata STAP cell papers in Nature were retracted today. It feels like it’s been a long time coming in one way as for months now it has felt like retraction was inevitable, but it’s been extraordinarily fast in another way as retractions almost never happen this fast. It’s a day of mixed feelings. This is very sad as it affirms some serious problems, but it is also a day for the stem cell field to move on from this mess. It’s sort of like …Read More

2 min read

Japanese news media are reporting that Haruko Obokata and other key authors have agreed to retract the Nature STAP cell letter, but not the Nature article. This is a major development and a peculiar one because to many in the  field it is the Nature STAP cell article that is the more flawed of the two Nature papers on STAP. Why would Obokata and her colleagues agree to retract the STAP letter from Nature, especially after for so long categorically rejecting the idea? I suspect they are under pressure from other …Read More

2 min read

We in the stem cell field should call this past week: A Nightmare on Stem Street. I can’t think of many weeks that have been worse for the stem cell field than this past one. I’m a new week is starting soon. It was a real nightmare, although I wish it was just something fictional out of the movies (see movie poster from Wikipedia). What happened? The STAP horror fest kicked it up a notch in providing pain to the stem cell field with a dramatic …Read More