‘Breakthrough’ Acid Stem Cell Study: Something is Grossly Wrong

Posted: April 1, 2014 at 7:41 am

Genetic irregularities add further confusion to acid bath stem cell studyReuters

Ground-breaking research that originally promised a huge leap in stem cell research has been dealt another blow this month after further irregularities in the authors' findings were discovered.

In January, Haruko Obokata of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Japan said she hadproduced two stem cell lines from mice by washing mature cells in acid -a safer and easier way of reprogramming mature cells to an embryonic state.

At the time, researchers said the findings were hugely important for the future of stem cell therapy and its ability to fight diseases.

However, shortly after publication, the Riken centre's president, Ryoji Noyori,was forced to apologise for what he called "sloppy" work after the firstirregularities in the findings emerged.A subsequent investigation was launchedfollowing complaints of duplicated images and failed attempts to copy her findings.

According to Nature magazine,investigators have now found that the two stem cell lines came from different strains, suggesting the papers came from different mouse strains to what was claimed.

"Something is grossly wrong," says Hiromitsu Nakauchi, a University of Tokyo stem cell researcher.

Teruhiko Wakayama from Yamanashi University, who collaborated on the papers, performed genetic analysis on the stem cell lines. He told Nature that he had expected a genetic match between the stem cells and the source mice, but that this was not the case.

"This is really, really confusing... so far I do not see any proof of misconduct. Moreover, I am still not convinced that [the findings] are bogus"

Biologist Hans Scholer

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'Breakthrough' Acid Stem Cell Study: Something is Grossly Wrong

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