Top journal retracts stem-cell study

Leading science journal Nature is withdrawing a stem-cell study published in January that had been hailed as a ‘game-changer’ in the quest to grow transplant tissue.

The announcement on Wednesday came after mistakes were discovered in some data published in two papers, photograph captions were found to be misleading, and the work itself could not be repeated by other scientists, it said.

‘All co-authors of both papers have finally concluded that they cannot stand behind the papers, and have decided to retract them,’ the journal said in an editorial.

Nature said it would tighten up procedures to vet future studies submitted for publication.

On June 4, Japan’s Riken research institute said lead scientist Haruko Obotaka, 30, had agreed to retract the papers after an investigation.

Obokata was feted after unveiling findings that appeared to show a straight-forward way to reprogram adult cells to become stem cells – precursors that are capable of developing into any other cell in the human body.

Identifying a readily-manufacturable supply of stem cells could one day help meet a need for transplant tissues, or even whole organs.

Read more:
Top journal retracts stem-cell study

Comments Off

Discovery may make it easier to develop life-saving stem cells

Jul 17, 2014 A photograph of a human egg, or oocyte. An MSU team of researchers found that certain genes taken from the oocyte can be key in the making of stem cells. Credit: Jose Cibelli

Not unlike looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack, a team of Michigan State University researchers have found a gene that could be key to the development of stem cells cells that can potentially save millions of lives by morphing into practically any cell in the body.

The gene, known as ASF1A, was not discovered by the team. However, it is at least one of the genes responsible for the mechanism of cellular reprogramming, a phenomenon that can turn one cell type into another, which is key to the making of stem cells.

In a paper published in the journal Science, the researchers describe how they analyzed more than 5,000 genes from a human egg, or oocyte, before determining that the ASF1A, along with another gene known as OCT4 and a helper soluble molecule, were the ones responsible for the reprogramming.

“This has the potential to be a major breakthrough in the way we look at how stem cells are developed,” said Elena Gonzalez-Munoz, a former MSU post-doctoral researcher and first author of the paper. “Researchers are just now figuring out how adult somatic cells such as skin cells can be turned into embryonic stem cells. Hopefully this will be the way to understand more about how that mechanism works.”

In 2006, an MSU team identified the thousands of genes that reside in the oocyte. It was from those, they concluded, that they could identify the genes responsible for cellular reprogramming.

In 2007, a team of Japanese researchers found that by introducing four other genes into cells, stem cells could be created without the use of a human egg. These cells are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs.

“This is important because the iPSCs are derived directly from adult tissue and can be a perfect genetic match for a patient,” said Jose Cibelli, an MSU professor of animal science and a member of the team.

The researchers say that the genes ASF1A and OCT4 work in tandem with a ligand, a hormone-like substance that also is produced in the oocyte called GDF9, to facilitate the reprogramming process.

“We believe that ASF1A and GDF9 are two players among many others that remain to be discovered which are part of the cellular-reprogramming process,” Cibelli said.

Original post:
Discovery may make it easier to develop life-saving stem cells

Comments Off

Scientific journal Nature retracts controversial stem cell papers

Last week, the scientific journal Nature retracted two papers which claimed that skin cells could be turned into stem cells. PBS NewsHour interviewed lead author Dr. Charles Vacanti of Brigham and Womens Hospital about the studies in January.

Vacanti and scientists from the RIKEN Institute in Japan claimed that bathing adult mouse cells in a mild acid made the cells behave like embryonic stem cells. It appeared to be an inexpensive way to create stem cells without destroying an embryo.

Controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells has slowed research progress. While it is possible to make stem cells from other sources, doing so is costly and takes time. If true, the finding would have opened new avenues for stem cell-related research and therapies.

But other scientists could not recreate stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells. An investigation in April found that RIKEN Institute junior scientist Haruko Obokata had falsely identified some of the images in the study, and plagiarized some of the descriptions in the paper. The studies authors pointed to five more errors when the journal printed its retraction last week, including images that claimed to show two different things, but actually showed the same thing.

We apologize for the mistakes included in the Article and Letter, the authors wrote in a statement. These multiple errors impair the credibility of the study as a whole and we are unable to say without doubt whether the STAP-SC phenomenon is real.

Originally posted here:
Scientific journal Nature retracts controversial stem cell papers

Comments Off

"Acid Bath Stem Cell" Breakthrough Debunked, Nature Retracts Papers

When two scientific papers, published in the journal Nature in January, described an inexpensive, uncontroversial and quick method of creating stem cells, it was hailed as a path-breaking discovery.

However, five months later, the research stands discredited after Nature retracted the papers Wednesday, and the study’s inclusion in the prestigious journal has cast doubts on its peer-review process. In a retraction published by Nature, the researchers admitted that several critical errors had been found in the article, and that these multiple errors impair the credibility of the study as a whole.

In the research papers published in January, scientists from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Japan had described a process to convert mature skin cells into pluripotent stem cells. Pluripotent stem cells are embryonic — like stem cells that can be grown into any kind cell, tissue or organ. The method described in the papers was fairly straightforward and involved immersing the cells in an acid bath to create what the researchers called Stimulus Triggered Acquired Pluripotency Stem Cells, or STAP-SC.

Currently, there are only two ways to create stem cells. One involves extracting stem cells from the embryo, which results in its destruction and is therefore considered controversial. The other method requires the insertion of DNA into adult cells and is extremely expensive. Furthermore, the stem cells created through the second method are unstable and mostly unviable due to the presence of foreign genetic material.

Since the method described in the papers did not require the destruction of an embryo or the insertion of foreign DNA, it was heralded as a revolutionary new breakthrough in stem-cell technology. However, soon after the publication of the papers, a number of errors came to light.

One of the scientists involved in the research, Teruhiko Wakayama, also called for a retraction in March. This led to an internal investigation by the Riken Centre, which found in April that the studys lead author, Haruko Obokata, had misrepresented data in her research papers.

In an editorial accompanying the retraction published Wednesday, Nature stated that the all co-authors of both the papers had finally concluded that they cannot stand behind the papers, and have decided to retract them. The editorial also stated that the episode disclosed flaws in Natures procedures, and expressed the need to move quality assurance higher up on its agenda.

The rest is here:
"Acid Bath Stem Cell" Breakthrough Debunked, Nature Retracts Papers

Comments Off

Stem cell study retracted

By Miriam Falco, CNN

updated 8:07 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

The rest is here:
Stem cell study retracted

Comments Off

'Breakthrough' stem cell study retracted

By Miriam Falco, CNN

updated 3:57 PM EDT, Wed July 2, 2014

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

View post:
'Breakthrough' stem cell study retracted

Comments Off

Scientists withdraw claim about making stem cells

NEW YORK (AP) U.S. and Japanese scientists who reported that they'd found a startlingly simple way to make stem cells withdrew that claim Wednesday, admitting to "extensive" errors in the research.

Follow this link:
Scientists withdraw claim about making stem cells

Comments Off

'Breakthrough' stem cell study pulled

By Miriam Falco, CNN

July 2, 2014 — Updated 1957 GMT (0357 HKT)

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

History of stem cells

Read more:
'Breakthrough' stem cell study pulled

Comments Off

Easy Method For Making Stem Cells Was Too Good To Be True

hide captionThe heart beats in a mouse embryo grown with stem cells made from blood. Now the research that claimed a simple acid solution could be used to create those cells has been retracted.

The heart beats in a mouse embryo grown with stem cells made from blood. Now the research that claimed a simple acid solution could be used to create those cells has been retracted.

A prestigious scientific journal Wednesday took the unusual step of retracting some high-profile research that had generated international excitement about stem cell research.

The British scientific journal Nature retracted two papers published in January by scientists at the Riken research institute in Japan and at Harvard Medical School that claimed that they could create stem cells simply by dipping skin and blood cells into acid.

The claim raised the possibility of being able to use the cells to easily make any kind of cell in the body to treat many diseases and generated international media coverage, including some on Shots.

But other scientists almost immediately raised questions about the papers, and investigators eventually found that the research papers contained many errors. In April, Riken even concluded that Haruko Obokata, the main Japanese scientist, was guilty of scientific misconduct.

The scientists involved in the work, including Charles Vacanti at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, issued statements regretting the problems with the papers and agreeing that they should be retracted.

“I am deeply saddened by all that has transpired, and after thoughtful consideration of the errors presented in the Riken report and other concerns that have been raised, I have agreed to retract the papers,” Vacanti wrote in a statement.

But Vacanti and Obokata said they still believed their techniques could work. In fact, Riken recently agreed to allow Obokata to participate in an experiment aimed at attempting to reproduce the original results.

For its part, the journal Nature said it was reviewing its policies to try to prevent future flawed papers from being published and published retractions of the two original papers as well as the editorial that accompanied them.

Read the original:
Easy Method For Making Stem Cells Was Too Good To Be True

Comments Off

Scientists withdraw claim about stem cell breakthrough

This photo taken on January 28, 2014 shows Japanese researcher Haruko Obokata (L) of the Japan-based Riken Institute and Yamanashi University professor Teruhiko Wakayama (R) displaying a picture of stem cells during a press conference at a Riken research center in Kobe, western Japan. JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK — Scientists who reported that they’d found a startlingly simple way to make stem cells withdrew that claim Wednesday, admitting to “extensive” errors in the research.

In two papers published in January in the journal Nature, the Japanese and American researchers said that they’d been able to transform ordinary mouse cells into versatile stem cells by exposing them to a mildly acidic environment. Scientists hope to harness stem cells to grow replacement tissue for treating a variety of diseases.

While scientists have long been able to perform such transformations with a different method, the newly reported technique was far simpler, and the paper gained wide notice – and some skepticism – in the research community. It was also widely reported in the media, including by The Associated Press.

But before long, the government-funded Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Japan accused one of its scientists, Haruko Obokata, of falsifying data in the research. Obokata, the key author of the papers, defended the results during a televised news conference in April while apologizing for using wrong images in the published reports.

On Wednesday, Nature released a statement from Obokata and the other authors of the papers that withdrew the papers. The scientists acknowledged “extensive” errors that meant “we are unable to say without a doubt” that the method works. They noted that studies of the simpler method are still going on by other researchers.

Dr. Charles Vacanti of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, another main author, issued a separate statement in which he said he believes the further studies will vindicate the method, which produced what the authors called STAP cells.

But another author, Yoshiki Sasai, deputy director of the Riken center, said the errors in the papers meant “it has become increasingly difficult to call the STAP phenomenon even a promising hypothesis.” In a statement issued by Riken, he said he was “deeply ashamed” of the problems in the papers.

Retractions of papers in major scientific journals like Nature are rare. They can come about because of fraud or the discovery of honest mistakes that undercut the conclusions of research. Publications like Nature routinely have experts review papers submitted by scientists to look for problems. But in an editorial released Wednesday, Nature concluded that its editors and reviewers “could not have detected the fatal faults in this work.”

Still, the journal said it is reviewing its practices.

Original post:
Scientists withdraw claim about stem cell breakthrough

Comments Off