Monday, November 24, 2014   

Japanese stem cell study tainted with dodgy data
(03-11 14:10)

A co-author of a Japanese study that promised a revolutionary way to create stem cells has called for the headline-grabbing research to be retracted over claims its data was faulty.
The findings, published by Japanese researcher Haruko Obokata and US-based scientists in the January edition of British journal Nature, outlined a simple and low-tech approach in the quest to grow transplant tissue in the lab, AFP reports.
But it has faced hard questions as the Japanese research institute that sponsored the study launched an inquiry last month over the credibility of data used to reach the explosive findings.
At issue are allegations that researchers used erroneous image data for the high-profile Nature article.
The Japan-based Riken Institute, which could not be immediately reached Tuesday, had earlier said it was standing by the results for the time being.
Teruhiko Wakayama, a Yamanashi University professor who co-authored the article, said the team's research should be retracted.
“It's hard to believe the findings anymore after so many mistakes in the data,'' he told broadcaster Nippon Television late Monday.
Nature said it was launching its own investigation.
“Issues relating to this paper have been brought to Nature's attention and we are conducting an on-going investigation,'' the journal said in an e-mailed statement.
“We have no further comment at this stage.''
However, Hitoshi Niwa, who also contributed to the article, stood by the results despite “minor mistakes'' in the data, Japanese media reported.
Another co-author of the study, Charles Vacanti, a tissue engineer at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told the Wall Street Journal: “Based on the information I have, I see no reason why these papers should be retracted.
“It would be very sad to have such an important paper retracted as a result of peer pressure, when indeed the data and conclusions are honest and valid,'' he said.
Harvard is also investigating, according to Japanese media reports.
Called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells, the innovation was touted as breaking new ground.
Stem cells are primitive cells that, as they grow, differentiate into the various specialised cells that make up the different organs – the brain, the heart, kidney and so on.
The goal is to create stem cells in the lab and nudge them to grow into these differentiated cells, thus replenishing organs damaged by disease or accident.
The researchers' groundbreaking findings said that white blood cells in newborn mice were returned to a versatile state through a relatively simple process that incubated them in a highly-acidic solution for 25 minutes, followed by a five minute spin in a centrifuge and a week-long immersion in a growth culture.
Until now, only plant cells, and not mammal cells, have been found to reprogramme back to a youthful state through simple environmental factors.

   
Other World breaking news:
Inmates rampage in Greek prison hospital (11-21 19:17)
6.9-magnitude quake hits eastern Indonesia, no tsunami alert (11-21 19:00)
Sri Lanka minister defects to challenge president (11-21 18:21)
Luxury car collection including 4 Rolls-Royces goes up in flames in Moscow (11-21 18:17)
Germans face caning for vandalism in Singapore (11-21 17:52)
UN blasts Thai junta for 'Hunger Games' detentions (11-21 17:17)
Britain's anti-EU UKIP take second seat in blow for Cameron (11-21 17:03)
Japan lower house dissolved ahead of election (11-21 16:24)
Singapore moves to regulate taxi booking apps (11-21 15:50)
Clashes as Mexicans hold rally for 43 missing students (11-21 15:49)

More breaking news >>

© 2014 The Standard, The Standard Newspapers Publishing Ltd.
Contact Us | About Us | Newsfeeds | Subscriptions | Print Ad. | Online Ad. | Street Pts

 


Home | Top News | Local | Business | China | ViewPoint | CityTalk | World | Sports | People | Central Station | Spree | Features

The Standard

Trademark and Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014, The Standard Newspaper Publishing Ltd., and its related entities. All rights reserved.  Use in whole or part of this site's content is prohibited.   Use of this Web site assumes acceptance of the
Terms of Use, Privacy Policy Statement and Copyright Policy.  Please also read our Ethics Statement.