July 3rd, 2014
Retraction Dissolves Credibility of Acid-Bath-Generated Stem Cells
Sadly, what seemed too good to be true now is: subjecting adult cells to an acid bath does not transform them into pluripotent stem cells, and the Nature papers reporting the effect have been retracted.
After initial excitement over the findings in January, a number of laboratories reported having trouble duplicating the results. Then in April, the RIKEN Center (where lead author Haruko Obokata did much of the work) conducted an investigation and accused her of “an act of research misconduct involving fabrication.”
A Nature editorial points out that after findings of manipulated photographs and plagiarized text, the papers’ co-authors concluded that they could not stand behind the results.
The editorial concludes with a plea for better behavior across the research enterprise, “to ensure that the money entrusted by governments is not squandered, and that citizens’ trust in science is not betrayed.”