Exclusive: Medical journals expand investigation into potential cardiac research misconduct

WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Three medical journals not too long ago launched unbiased investigations into potential knowledge manipulation in coronary heart research led by Temple University researchers, Reuters reported, including new scrutiny to the college and U.S. authorities investigation into misconduct.

The Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and the Journal of Biological Chemistry are investigating 5 articles written by Temple scientists, the journals instructed Reuters.

A 3rd journal, owned by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), issued a recall final month after it discovered proof of knowledge manipulation on the Temple researchers’ web site. The paper initially concluded that Xarelto, a broadly used blood thinner, has a therapeutic impact on the center.

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Elsevier, which owns the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and publishes two different journals on behalf of medical societies, instructed Reuters: “We are dedicated to sustaining the integrity of the scientific report.”

Philadelphia-based Temple launched its personal investigation in September 2020 on the request of the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI), which oversees federally funded research misconduct investigations, following a lawsuit filed by one of many researchers.

Temple’s investigation contains 15 paperwork revealed between 2008 and 2020 and supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health, the court docket heard. Nine of the research had been led by Abdel Karim Sabri, a professor at Temple Cardiovascular Research Center.

His colleague Stephen Houser, senior affiliate dean for research at Temple and former president of the American Heart Association, was named as an creator on 5 research led by Sabri. Hauser was cross-examined in 4 further paperwork.

Houser sued in federal court docket final 12 months, alleging Temple tried to defame him and steal his findings, ending the college’s investigation.

Houser’s lawyer, Christopher Ezold, instructed Reuters in an announcement that he “has not engaged in scientific or different misconduct, has not falsified knowledge, and has not engaged in any misconduct with different scientists or lecturers.” Sabri managed the textual content parts of the research and didn’t present or analyze the information, Ezold stated.

A Temple spokesman stated the college is “conscious of the allegations and is trying into them.” He now not feedback or discusses interactions with medical journals. ORI additionally declined to remark. Sabri and Hauser didn’t reply to questions.

According to a number of research specialists, Houser, as one among a number of authors, can’t be stated to be concerned in potential abuse. Final investigator duty for the examine often rests with the supervising scientist and anybody who contributed particular knowledge that was examined.


The probes spotlight considerations about potential fraud in medical research and the federal funds that help it. A Reuters investigation revealed in June discovered that the NIH spent tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} on cardiac stem cell research regardless of allegations of fraud in opposition to a number of main scientists within the subject.

The Temple examine additionally factors to an absence of consensus within the scientific group about easy methods to talk such considerations to stop doubtlessly unhealthy science from informing future jobs and funding, based on half a dozen research specialists who spoke to Reuters.

Temple didn’t inform medical journals that it was conducting an investigation on the request of a US authorities company, the journals instructed Reuters. They stated they’ve began their very own investigation.

Xarelto’s maker, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit ( JNJ.N ), additionally instructed Reuters that researchers at Temple had not knowledgeable the corporate of the JACC investigation or retraction, however two of its workers signed up collectively. – authors on paper. According to Janssen, their contribution to the newspaper is being canceled.

In some misconduct inquiries, universities have notified educational journals that investigations are underway. It allowed journals to problem “statements of concern” about particular research, telling readers they may have cause to query the outcomes. If knowledge manipulation is discovered, journals are anticipated to retract the paper.

None of the journals that revealed Temple’s peer-reviewed articles expressed concern. They instructed Reuters why they didn’t make such a choice.

“There’s an absence of assets for these research, and there isn’t any standardization world wide,” stated Arthur Kaplan, chief of medical ethics at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine.

Other journals don’t evaluation the work of Temple researchers. The 5 ORI-marked articles had been revealed within the AHA journals Circulation, Circulation: Heart Failure, and Circulation Research, the place Houser is a senior consulting editor.

The AHA stated it had not been notified of its investigation by the US company or Temple, and that it didn’t contemplate itself liable for additional investigation. The AHA stated it made corrections to knowledge in a single paper on the request of the authors. This paper was the one evaluation that recognized Hauser because the lead researcher.

“The American Heart Association isn’t a regulatory physique or company,” the AHA stated in an announcement to Reuters.


Researchers and their establishments could also be compelled to return federal funding that helps work tainted by knowledge manipulation.

Hauser has acquired about $40 million in NIH funding, whereas Sabri has acquired practically $10 million since 2000, based on a Reuters evaluation of NIH grants. Houser’s legal professional stated none of his NIH funding helps the papers Sabri oversees.

The JACC journal is retracting the Xarelto examine after it launched an investigation after receiving a reader criticism. In response, the researchers made corrections to among the picture knowledge within the paper, which was overseen by Sabry and listed Houser as an creator.

But the journal stated the modification raised considerations, prompting it to rent an unnamed exterior skilled to evaluation them.

According to the retraction discover, peer evaluation discovered proof of manipulation in seven photographs utilizing a method generally known as Western blotting, which measures the focus of a selected protein in cells or tissues beneath numerous experimental circumstances. As a consequence, the journal’s ethics committee voted to cancel the paper.

NIH, ORI, and Temple declined to touch upon whether or not the JACC publication would require a return of federal funding for the canceled work.

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Report by Marisa Taylor and Brad Heath; Edited by Michelle Gershberg and Edward Tobin

Our requirements: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Brad Heath

Thomson Reuters

Washington-based reporter masking prison justice, legislation and extra, and a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and a member of the Virginia Bar.


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