Three medical journals recently began independent reviews of possible data on heart studies led by Temple University researchers, Reuters reported, adding new scrutiny to alleged misconduct at the university and the US government.

The Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and the Journal of Biological Chemistry are reviewing five papers written by Temple scientists, the journals told Reuters.

A third journal, owned by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), was canceled last month. A paper prepared by Temple researchers After verifying that there is evidence of data management on the website. At the beginning of the recovery paper, the widely used blood thinner Xarelto, It can have a healing effect on the heart.

Elsevier, which owns the journal Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and publishes the other two journals on behalf of the medical community, said in a statement to Reuters: “We are committed to protecting the integrity of scholarly reporting.”

Philadelphia-based Temple launched its own inquiry in September 2020 at the request of the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI), which oversees investigations into misconduct in federally funded research, according to a lawsuit filed by one of the researchers.

Temple University Professor Abdel Sabri image
According to court filings, Temple University professor Abdel Karim Sabri authored nine of the 15 included papers published between 2008 and 2020.
Temple University

Temple’s investigation included 15 papers published between 2008 and 2020 and supported by 15 papers obtained from the US National Institutes of Health, court records show. The nine studies were overseen by Abdel Karim Sabri, a professor at the Temple Cardiovascular Research Center.

Fellow Steven Hacker, senior associate dean for research at Temple and president of the American Heart Association, is listed as an author on five studies overseen by Sabri. House was also being investigated on four additional papers.

Hauter sued in federal court last year to stop the university’s inquiry, saying Temple wanted to humiliate him and steal his findings.

“Hausser has not engaged in scientific or other misconduct, has not falsified data, and has not engaged in any misconduct with any scientist or academic,” Houser’s lawyer, Christopher Eisold, told Reuters in a statement. House helped review and edit the text sections of the Saberi-supervised studies and did not provide or analyze the data, Izold said.

A Temple spokesman said the university was “aware of the allegations and is reviewing them.” He would not comment further or discuss his relationship with medical journals. ORI also declined comment. Sabri and House did not respond to requests for comment.

A number of researchers said that House, as one of several co-authors, could not be involved in potential misconduct. The ultimate responsibility for the study rests largely with the supervising scientist and the researchers who contributed the specific data under investigation.

Stress statement

The tests reveal potential innovations in medical research and concerns that support federal funding. Reuters investigation Published in June NIH Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on cardiac stem cell research. Despite the allegations of fraud against many famous scientists in the field.

Half a dozen researchers interviewed by Reuters said the Temple inquiry shows a lack of consensus in the scientific community about how such concerns should be communicated, to prevent potentially bad science from informing future work and funding.

Temple did not inform medical journals that it was conducting an investigation at the request of a US government agency, the journals told Reuters. They said they started their inquiry personally.

Xarelto maker Johnson & Johnson, a division of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals, told Reuters that regulatory researchers at Temple did not inform the company about the investigation and the reduction in the JACC journal, even though two of its employees were listed as co-authors on the paper. . Janssen’s contribution to the paper is not doubted in the revision.

Photo by Steven House.
Steven Hyer, senior associate dean for research at Temple University, is listed as an author on five studies supervised by Sabri.
Temple University

In some cases of misconduct, universities have notified scientific journals that an investigation is underway. This allowed journals to issue a “statement of concern” about certain studies, telling readers that there might be reason to doubt the results. If there is a discovery of data manipulation, the journals are expected to retract the paper.

None of the journals that published the papers being investigated by Temple issued statements of concern. They did not comment to Reuters on why they decided not to.

“It’s frustrating because there’s a lack of resources for these tests,” said Arthur Kaplan, chief of medical ethics at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine.

Other journals are not examining the work of Temple researchers. Five papers targeted by ORI were published in the AHA journals Circulation, Circulation: Heart Failure and Circulation Research, for which House is a senior consulting editor.

The AHA said it had not been notified by the US agency or Temple about their request and did not consider itself responsible for further investigation. The AHA said it issued a data correction to a paper at the authors’ request. The paper is the only study under investigation that lists House as a supervising researcher.

“The American Heart Association is not a regulatory body or agency,” the AHA said in a statement to Reuters.

Federal funding

Researchers and their institutions may be forced to return federal funds that support work tainted by data fraud.

House has received about $40 million in NIH funding and Sabri has received about $10 million since 2000, according to a Reuters analysis of NIH grants. Houser’s attorney said none of the NIH funding supported the papers under Sabri’s control.

The JACC journal said it launched the investigation after receiving a complaint from a reader discrediting the Xarelto research. In response, the researchers issued a correction to some of the image data in the paper, which was overseen by Sabri and listed House as an author.

However, the journal said the correction raised additional concerns and hired an anonymous outside expert to review it.

According to the recall notice, the expert review found evidence of fraud in seven images using a technique known as Western blotting, which determines the amount of a specific protein in cells or tissues under various experimental conditions. As a result, the journal said its ethics board voted to retract the paper.

NIH, ORI, and Temple declined to comment on whether federal funds should be reimbursed for work reduced by JACC publications.

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