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Suspect stem-cell paper retracted

A paper examining the role of bone cells in regulating stem-cells has been retracted from the journal Blood, 14 months after the journal issued an expression of concern over the study (see Stem-cell papers under suspicion).

Senior author, Harvard Medical School scientist Amy Wagers, and the journal withdrew the 2008 paper because it “was found to contain duplicated data and other inappropriate manipulations,” according to the 23 December retraction notice. But Wagers’ sole co-author, former post-doc Shane Mayack, did not sign the retraction.

In October 2010, a Nature paper by Mayack, Wagers, and two other researchers was retracted, and Mayack, the first author, did not sign that retraction either.  At that time, journalists from Nature reported that the Nature and Blood papers contained identical flow cytometry plots detailing protein markers on the surface of cells. Blood  is only now fully retracting the manuscript.

The retraction notice says that Wagers reported her concerns over the paper in August 2010 and a subsequent institutional investigation confirmed them. It adds that Mayack maintains that the data in the Blood paper are valid. In October 2010, her lawyer told Nature that “errors were made in assembling the figures for the manuscripts” but that “the underlying data fully support the main conclusions of the Nature article as published.”

We will update this blog if we hear back from Wagers or Mayack.

Hat tip: Retraction Watch.


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