Stem cells to treat blindness may be safe

LONDON (AP) An experimental treatment for blindness that uses embryonic stem cells appears to be safe, and it improved vision in more than half of the patients who got it, two early studies show.

Researchers followed 18 patients for up to three years after treatment. The studies are the first to show safety of an embryonic stem cell treatment in humans for such a long period.

Its a wonderful first step but it doesnt prove that (stem cells) work, said Chris Mason, chair of regenerative medicine at University College London, who was not part of the research. He said it was encouraging the studies proved the treatment is safe and dispelled fears about stem cells promoting tumor growth.

Embryonic stem cells, which are recovered from embryos, can become any cell in the body. They are considered controversial by some because they involve destroying an embryo and some critics say adult stem cells, which are derived from tissue samples, should be used instead.

Scientists have long thought about transforming them into specific types of cells to help treat various diseases. In the new research, scientists turned stem cells into retinal cells to treat people with macular degeneration or Stargardts macular dystrophy, the leading causes of blindness in adults and children.

In each patient, the retinal cells were injected into the eye that had the worst vision. Ten of the 18 patients later reported they could see better with the treated eye than the other one. No safety problems were detected. The studies were paid for by the U.S. company that developed the treatment, Advanced Cell Technology, and were published online Tuesday in the journal, Lancet.

Dr. Robert Lanza, one of the study authors, said it was significant the stem cells survived years after the transplant and werent wiped out by the patients own immune systems. For some of the patients, Lanza noted their improved vision changed their lives, referring to a 75-year-old horse rancher who had been blind in one eye before the treatment.

One month after his treatment, his vision had improved (substantially) and he can even ride his horses again, Lanza said in an email. He said other patients have regained their independence with their newfound vision and said some people are now able to use their computers again, read their watches or travel on their own.

The next step will be to prove these (stem cell) treatments actually work, Mason said. Unless there is a sham group where you inject saline into (patients) eyes, we cant know for sure that it was the stem cells that were responsible.

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Stem Cells Create a Therapeutic Niche | Page 2

Exciting, albeit controversial, results of human cloning were recently published in the journal Cell Stem Cell following collaborative research conducted by scientists at the CHA Stem Cell Institute in Seoul, Korea, the Research Institute for Stem Cell Research (a part of the CHA Health Systems), and the company Advanced Cell Technology. The scientists reprogrammed an egg cell by removing its DNA and replacing it with nuclei from two adult donors aged 35 years and 75 years. The experimental procedures could successfully generate two karyotypically normal diploid ESC lines. This technique had previously been developed, but with infant/fetal donor cells, which, unlike adult cells, are not associated with agerelated changes such as shortened telomerases and oxidative DNA damage.9 iPSCs Extracting and then maintaining adult stem cells in the laboratory is extremely difficult, as they have a limited capacity to divide in culture.5 The discovery of the transdifferentiation process of adult stem cells, wherein adult stem cells are subjected to certain differentiation techniques to generate cell types different from the predicted types, was therefore very exciting.8

Taking the process a step further, researchers in Japan developed a technique to reprogram normal adult cells into stem cells, the iPSCs, by the forced introduction of a set of transcription factors into the cells.10 These transcription factors (different combinations of Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, c-Myc, Nanog, Lin28) regulate important steps in early embryonic development and force the adult somatic cells into an embryonic stem celllike state. This technique has essentially revolutionized the field of regenerative medicine; the patient himself could now be an unlimited source of immune-matched pluripotent cells.11

As promising as the therapy sounds, it is riddled with its own problems. It has always been known that the genes that regulate developmental pathways also regulate cancer, and are especially potent when expressed in combination. Therefore, researchers have trimmed the initial group of four transcription factors down to two, with the aim of simultaneously treating the cells with various chemicals to boost reprogramming efficiency. Additionally, the use of either lentiviruses or retroviruses (Figure 2) to introduce the genes into the host cell can result in uncontrolled effects of viral integration. Current efforts are directed toward reprograming cells without viruses or using more efficient integration techniques.11

iPSCs indicates induced pluripotent stem cells. Adapted from: Regenerative Medicine. Department of Health and Human Services. http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/scireport/ Pages/2006report.aspx. Published August 2006. Accessed April 4 2014.

A new iPSC transplantation therapy will also be evaluated for safety in patients with Parkinson disease. Jun Takahashi, MD, PhD, and his colleagues at the Kyoto Universitys Center for iPS Cell Research and Application have successfully developed a technique to generate dopamine-producing nerve cells from patient-derived iPSCs for transplantation into the patients brain, an attempt at regenerating the damaged dopaminergic neurons.13 When contacted by e-mail, Takahashi responded that they are currently conducting preclinical studies, the results from which will be submitted for approval prior to initiating clinical trials.

In a novel approach, researchers at the RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology reported the generation of cancer-specific killer T cells from iPSCs. The human body has a natural ability to produce tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which when activated are effective but not sufficient to cure the patient, due to their short life span. To tackle this problem, the scientists reprogrammed T cells into iPSCs, which were further manipulated to differentiate into mature T cells. Although the tools are ready, they have not yet been tested in vitro or in vivo for their cancer cellkilling potential.14

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Researchers Develop New Cells Meant to Form Blood Vessels, Treat Peripheral Artery Disease

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Newswise INDIANAPOLIS — Researchers have developed a technique to jump-start the body’s systems for creating blood vessels, opening the door for potential new treatments for diseases whose impacts include amputation and blindness.

The international team, led by scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine, is targeting new therapies for illnesses such as peripheral artery disease, a painful leg condition caused by poor blood circulation. The disease can lead to skin problems, gangrene and sometimes amputation.

While the body has cells that specialize in repairing blood vessels and creating new ones, called endothelial colony-forming cells, these cells can lose their ability to proliferate into new blood vessels as patients age or develop diseases like peripheral arterial disease, said Mervin C. Yoder Jr., M.D., Richard and Pauline Klingler Professor of Pediatrics at IU and leader of the research team.

Peripheral artery disease patients can be given medication to improve blood flow, but if the blood vessels to carry that improved flow are reduced in number or function, the benefits are minimal. If “younger,” more “enthusiastic” endothelial colony forming cells could be injected into the affected tissues, they might jump-start the process of creating new blood vessels. Gathering those cells would not be easy however — they are relatively difficult to find in adults, especially in those with peripheral arterial disease. However, they are present in large numbers in umbilical cord blood.

Reporting their work in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the researchers said they had developed a potential therapy through the use of patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells, which are normal adult cells that have been “coaxed” via laboratory techniques into reverting into the more primitive stem cells that can produce most types of bodily tissue. So, in one of the significant discoveries reported in the Nature Biotechnology paper, the research team developed a novel methodology to mature the induced pluripotent stem cells into cells with the characteristics of the endothelial colony-forming cells that are found in umbilical cord blood. Those laboratory-created endothelial colony-forming cells were injected into mice, where they were able to proliferate into human blood vessels and restore blood flow to damaged tissues in mouse retinas and limbs.

Overcoming another hurdle that has been faced by scientists in the field, the research team found that the cord-blood-like endothelial colony-forming cells grown in laboratory tissue culture expanded dramatically, creating 100 million new cells for each original cell in a little less than three months.

“This is one of the first studies using induced pluripotent stem cells that has been able to produce new cells in clinically relevant numbers — enough to enable a clinical trial,” Dr. Yoder said. The next steps, he said, include reaching an agreement with a facility approved to produce cells for use in human testing. In addition to peripheral artery disease, the researchers are evaluating the potential uses of the derived cells to treat diseases of the eye and lungs that involve blood flow problems.

A short video explaining the research is available here: http://youtu.be/nyPk_5bLdzs

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BioTimes Subsidiary Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. Files an IND with the FDA for OpRegen Designed to Treat Patients …

The design of the proposed clinical trial, Phase I/IIa Dose Escalation Safety and Efficacy Study of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells Transplanted Subretinally in Patients with Advanced Dry-Form Age-Related Macular Degeneration with Geographic Atrophy, is based on a pre-IND meeting with the FDA and a series of earlier interactions with the agency. Patients will undergo a single transplantation and the study will explore three different doses of OpRegen. Following transplantation, the patients will be followed over 12 months at specified intervals and then at longer time periods, to evaluate the safety and tolerability of the product. A secondary objective of the clinical trial will be to explore the ability of transplanted OpRegen to engraft, survive, and moderate the disease progression.

The filing of this IND is the culmination of 12 years of research and development starting at the Hadassah Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center at Hadassah University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel, under the direction of Prof. Benjamin Reubinoff, MD, PhD and continuing at Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd., said Charles S. Irving Ph.D., Cell Cures CEO. We look forward to initiating the clinical trial that will, for the first time, utilize xeno-free grade human embryonic stem cell derived RPE cells with high purity and potency, for the treatment of geographic atrophy, the severe stage of dry-AMD.

About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the major diseases of aging and is the leading eye disease responsible for visual impairment of older persons in the US, Europe and Australia. AMD affects the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision that is important for facial recognition, reading and driving. There are two forms of AMD. The dry form (dry-AMD) advances slowly and painlessly until it progresses to the severe form called geographic atrophy (GA). Once the atrophy reaches the fovea (the center of the macula), patients lose their central vision and may develop legal blindness. There is currently no effective treatment for dry-AMD. There are about 1.6 million new cases of dry-AMD in the US annually. The yearly economic loss to the gross domestic product in the United States from dry-AMD has been estimated to be $24.4 billion. The market opportunity for a treatment for GA has been estimated at over $5 billion globally. About 10% of patients with dry-AMD develop wet-AMD, which is an acute disease and can lead to severe visual loss in a matter of weeks. Wet-AMD can be treated with currently-marketed VEGF inhibitors such as Lucentis or Eylea, however, such products typically require frequent repeated injections in the eye, and patients often continue to suffer from the continued progression of the underlying dry-AMD disease process. Current estimated annual sales of VEGF inhibitors for the treatment of the wet form of AMD are estimated to be about $7 billion worldwide. The root cause of the larger problem of dry-AMD is believed to be the dysfunction of RPE cells. One of the most exciting therapeutic approaches to dry-AMD is the transplantation of healthy, young RPE cells to support and replace the patients old degenerating RPE cells and to head off the advancing atrophy before it reaches the fovea. One of the most promising sources of healthy RPE cells is cells derived from pluripotent stem cells.

About OpRegen

Cell Cure’s OpRegen consists of RPE cells that are produced using a proprietary process that drives the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into high purity RPE cells. OpRegen is also xeno-free,” meaning that no animal products were used either in the derivation and expansion of the human embryonic stem cells or in the directed differentiation process. The avoidance of the use of animal products eliminates some safety concerns. OpRegen is formulated as a suspension of RPE cells. Preclinical studies in mice have shown that following a single subretinal injection of OpRegen as a suspension of cells, the cells can rapidly organize into their natural monolayer structure and survive throughout the lifetime of the animal. OpRegen will be an off-the-shelf allogeneic product provided to retinal surgeons in a final formulation ready for transplantation. Unlike treatments that require multiple injections into the eye, such as currently-marketed products like Lucentis and Eylea for wet-AMD, it is expected that OpRegen would be administered in a single procedure.

About Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd.

Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. was established in 2005 as a subsidiary of ES Cell International Pte. Ltd. (ESI), now a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: BTX). Cell Cures second largest shareholder is HBL Hadasit Bio-Holdings, (TASE: HDST, OTC: HADSY). Cell Cure is located in Jerusalem, Israel on the campus of Hadassah Medical Center. Cell Cure’s mission is to become a leading supplier of human cell-based therapies for the treatment of retinal and neural degenerative diseases. Its technology platform is based on the manufacture of diverse cell products sourced from clinical-grade (GMP-compatible) human embryonic stem cells. Its current focus is the development of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Cell Cure’s major shareholders include BioTime, Inc., HBL Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd., Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA), and Asterias Biotherapeutics (OTCBB: ASTY). Additional information about Cell Cure can be found on the web at http://www.cellcureneurosciences.com. A video of a presentation by Cell Cures CEO Dr. Charles Irving is available on BioTimes website.

About BioTime

BioTime is a biotechnology company engaged in research and product development in the field of regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine refers to therapies based on stem cell technology that are designed to rebuild cell and tissue function lost due to degenerative disease or injury. BioTimes focus is on pluripotent stem cell technology based on human embryonic stem (hES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. hES and iPS cells provide a means of manufacturing every cell type in the human body and therefore show considerable promise for the development of a number of new therapeutic products. BioTimes therapeutic and research products include a wide array of proprietary PureStem progenitors, HyStem hydrogels, culture media, and differentiation kits. BioTime is developing Renevia (a HyStem product) as a biocompatible, implantable hyaluronan and collagen-based matrix for cell delivery in human clinical applications, and is planning to initiate a pivotal clinical trial around Renevia, in 2014. In addition, BioTime has developed Hextend, a blood plasma volume expander for use in surgery, emergency trauma treatment and other applications. Hextend is manufactured and distributed in the U.S. by Hospira, Inc. and in South Korea by CJ HealthCare Corporation, under exclusive licensing agreements.

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LifeMap Sciences Announces Release and Commercial Availability of GeneAnalytics 1.0, a Powerful Gene Set Analysis …

ALAMEDA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–LifeMap Sciences, Inc., a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc., announced today the commercial release of GeneAnalytics 1.0 at http://www.geneanalytics.com. GeneAnalytics is a powerful, yet easy to use, gene set analysis tool designed to help life scientists and biomedical researchers identify expression signatures and functionality of their experimental gene sets, and define their roles in various biological processes and in health and disease.

GeneAnalytics is powered by LifeMap Sciences popular integrated knowledgebase and discovery platform for biomedical research, which includes: GeneCards (http://www.genecards.org), the human gene database, LifeMap Discovery (http://discovery.lifemapsc.com), the embryonic development and stem cell database and MalaCards (http://www.malacards.org), the human disease database. LifeMap Sciences holds the exclusive worldwide license to market GeneCards and MalaCardsfrom Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

LifeMap Sciences Biomedical Knowledgebase enables GeneAnalytics to analyze experimental gene sets of interest and match them toexpression patterns in various cell types, diseases and pathways and functional groups. It can aid in the discovery ofmarkers for tissues, cells and diseases, investigation ofdiseasemechanisms and in exploration of relationships between compounds and gene networks to enhance drug discovery. It is also a unique tool for characterization of tissue samples and cultured cells, assessment of their purity and analysis ofoutcomes of cell differentiation experiments.

GeneAnalytics is a key component of LifeMap Sciences recently launched premium platform, GeneCards Plus. The platform also includes GeneALaCart (http://genealacart.genecards.org), the GeneCards batch querying application and VarElect (http://varelect.genecards.org), the Next Generation Sequencing phenotyper.

Ronit Shtrichman, Ph.D., Vice President of Biology at LifeMap Sciences said, We believe that leveraging our extensive information and knowledgebase on biological entities, such as genes, cells, pathways, compounds and diseases, and the connections between these various entities to power gene set analysis by GeneAnalytics will enable it to significantly enhance basic biomedical research, stem cell research and therapeutic discovery.

In the few months since weve launched the beta version of GeneAnalytics, weve had over 1,000 scientists from academia and industry use it in their research, said Yaron Guan-Golan, Head of Marketing at LifeMap Sciences. This is evidence that GeneAnalytics is a powerful research aid and we look forward to continuously improve its capabilities and features in upcoming releases, together with GeneALaCart and VarElect, our premium GeneCards Plus research tools.

About LifeMap Sciences, Inc.

LifeMap Sciences (www.lifemapsc.com) core technology and business is based on its Integrated Biomedical Knowledgebase and discovery platform for biomedical research, which currently includesGeneCards: the leading human gene database;LifeMap Discovery, the database of embryonic development, stem cell research and regenerative medicine;MalaCards, the human disease database; and GeneAnalytics, a novel gene set analysis tool which leverages our Integrated Biomedical Knowledgebase. LifeMaps products are used in more than 3,000 institutions including academia, research hospitals, patent offices, and leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

LifeMap Sciences intends to continually improve the quality of its products, and is pursuing several new Internet and informatics products with substantial, rapid-revenue growth potential, leveraging its existing products and their large user base of life scientists. LifeMap also intends to extend its offerings to the field of mobile health via its subsidiaryLifeMap Solutions, Inc.

About BioTime

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Tonsil stem cells could someday help repair liver damage without surgery

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

24-Sep-2014

Contact: Michael Bernstein m_bernstein@acs.org 202-872-6042 American Chemical Society @ACSpressroom

The liver provides critical functions, such as ridding the body of toxins. Its failure can be deadly, and there are few options for fixing it. But scientists now report in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces a way to potentially inject stem cells from tonsils, a body part we don’t need, to repair damaged livers all without surgery.

Byeongmoon Jeong and colleagues point out that currently, the only established method for treating liver failure or severe cases of liver disease is complete or partial transplantation. But the need is much greater than the number of available organs. Plus, surgery has inherent risks and a hefty price tag. A promising alternative in development is transplanting liver cells. One such approach involves using adult stem cells to make liver cells. Stem cells from bone marrow could be used, but they have limitations. Recently, scientists identified another source of adult stem cells that could be used for this purpose tonsils. Every year, thousands of surgeries are performed to remove tonsils, and the tissue is discarded. Now it could have a new purpose, but scientists needed a way to grow them on a 3-D scaffold that mimics real liver tissue. Jeong’s team set out to do just that.

The researchers encapsulated tonsil-derived stem cells in a heat-sensitive liquid that turns into a gel at body temperature. They added substances called growth factors to encourage the stem cells to become liver cells. Then, they heated the combination up to a normal body temperature. The result was a 3-D, biodegradable gel that contained functioning liver cells. The researchers conclude that the same process has promise with some further tweaking for ideal conditions as an injectable tissue engineering technique to treat liver disease without surgery.

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The authors acknowledge funding from the National Research Foundation of Korea.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

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Beat tennis elbow with stem cell injections: Patients are receiving jabs to heal hard-to-treat tendon injuries

By Roger Dobson for the Daily Mail

Published: 18:06 EST, 22 September 2014 | Updated: 18:06 EST, 22 September 2014

Scientists believe stem cells will provide a more effective solution fortendon injuries

Patients are receiving jabs of their own cells in an attempt to heal hard-to-treat tendon injuries, such as tennis elbow.

The treatment, which has previously been used on injured racehorses, uses a patient’s stem cells to super-charge the body’s natural repair mechanisms.

Millions of Britons suffer tendon injuries. Tendons are the tough bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. They can become damaged through wear and tear or injury, causing inflammation or tears.

Such damage is notoriously difficult to treat because tendons have a very poor blood supply, so healing compounds cannot reach the injury site. As a result, tough scar tissue often forms around the tendon, significantly hampering movement and flexibility.

Treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroid injections and physiotherapy, but experts say they have limited success. Scientists believe stem cells – which have the ability to turn into different types of cells in the body – will provide a more effective solution.

Early-stage laboratory studies, as well as reports from treating racehorses, have shown that, over several weeks, the stem cells encourage the growth of new tendon tissue and reduce scar tissue.

This may be because stem cells can recruit compounds called growth factors that help regenerate damaged tissue.

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MEDIPOST America clears Phase 1/2 IND for the U.S. clinical trial on stem cell drug for lung

MEDIPOST America Inc. today announced the US FDA approval of Phase 1/2 clinical trial for PNEUMOSTEM.

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James Collins to receive the 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

8-Sep-2014

Contact: Guntram Bauer gbauer@hfsp.org 33-388-215-124 Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) has announced that the 2015 HFSP Nakasone Award has been conferred upon James Collins of Boston University and Harvard’s Wyss Institute for his innovative work on synthetic gene networks and programmable cells which launched the exciting field of synthetic biology.

The HFSP Nakasone Award was established to honour scientists who have made key breakthroughs in fields at the forefront of the life sciences. It recognizes the vision of former Prime Minister Nakasone of Japan in the creation of the Human Frontier Science Program. James Collins will present the HFSP Nakasone Lecture at the 15th annual meeting of HFSP awardees to be held in La Jolla, California, in July 2015.

James Collins was one of the first to show that one can engineer biological circuits out of proteins, genes and other bits of DNA. He designed and constructed a genetic toggle switch – a bistable gene circuit with broad implications for biomedicine and biotechnology. This work represents a landmark in the beginnings of synthetic biology. He showed that synthetic gene networks can be used as regulatory modules and interfaced with the cell’s genetic circuitry to create programmable cells for biomedical and biotech applications. Along these lines, Collins has developed whole-cell biosensors to detect various stimuli (chemicals, pathogens, heavy metals, explosives), as well as synthetic probiotics to detect and treat infections (e.g., cholera). Collins has also designed and constructed RNA switches, genetic counters, programmable microbial kill switches, synthetic bacteriophages to combat bacterial infections, genetic switchboards for metabolic engineering, synthetic mRNA for stem cell reprogramming, and tunable mammalian genetic switches.

Collins’ innovative work in synthetic biology is impacting the biosciences and the biotech industry in providing one of the key enabling technologies of the 21st century. His engineered gene circuits and synthetic biology technology have been utilized by multiple companies in diverse fields ranging from agriculture to drug discovery. His work has inspired scientists around the world and enabled multiple biomedical applications, including in vivo bio-sensing, antibiotic potentiation, biofilm eradication, drug target identification and validation, microbiome reengineering, and efficient stem cell reprogramming and differentiation. Collins’ mammalian switch technology is being used by research groups worldwide and his programmable microbial kill switch was highlighted by President Obama’s Bioethics Commission as a much-needed safeguard for real-world applications of synthetic biology.

The work of James Collins is advancing, if not defining, the emerging discipline of synthetic biology, and his path-blazing research on synthetic gene networks and programmable cells is transforming the life sciences and expanding our ability to study and harness complex mechanisms of living organisms.

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The HFSP Nakasone Award was established in 2010. Previous recipients have been Karl Deisseroth (2010), Michael Elowitz (2011), Gina Turrigiano (2012), Stephen Quake (2013), and Uri Alon (2014).

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Should scientists handle retractions differently?

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

4-Sep-2014

Contact: Abby Abazorius abbya@mit.edu 617-253-2709 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

It is one of the highest-profile cases of scientific fraud in memory: In 2005, South Korean researcher Woo-Suk Hwang and colleagues made international news by claiming that they had produced embryonic stem cells from a cloned human embryo using nuclear transfer. But within a year, the work had been debunked, soon followed by findings of fraud. South Korea put a moratorium on stem-cell research funding. Some scientists abandoned or reduced their work in the field.

But the case is not so simple: By 2007, other stem-cell researchers had found that the debunked research contained a few solid findings amid the false claims. While prior stem-cell findings remained intact, it took time to rebuild support for the field.

Now a study by MIT scholars quantifies the fallout for scientists whose fields suffer high-profile retractions, with a twist: Even valid older research, when cited in a retracted study, loses credibility especially if the retracted paper involves malfeasance. The fallout from a retraction does not land solely on the scientists who are at fault, but on people in the field more broadly.

As the new paper contends, “scientific misconduct and mistakes, as signaled to the scientific community through retractions, cause a relative decline in the vitality of neighboring intellectual fields.” This spillover effect, which includes a 6 percent decline in citations relative to similar, unaffected papers, suggests that scientists would benefit by trying to describe the nature of each retraction in more detail.

“A well-functioning, transparent retraction process is actually part and parcel of the scientific system,” says Pierre Azoulay, an economist at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a co-author of the new study. “We need a system where journals help the readers spell out the reasons for the retractions, and help the scientific community parse the implications for the forward movement of science.”

Identifying the “stigma story”

The paper, “Retractions,” is published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, a peer-reviewed economics journal. The authors are Azoulay, the Sloan Distinguished Associate Professor of Management; Fiona Murray, the Alvin J. Siteman Professor of Entrepreneurship, associate dean for innovation at MIT Sloan, and co-director of MIT’s Innovation Initiative; Joshua Krieger, a doctoral student at MIT Sloan; and Jeffrey Furman, an economist at Boston University.

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