News of the WeekScientific Misconduct

Cancer Researcher Sacked for Alleged Fraud

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Science  17 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5460, pp. 1901-1902
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5460.1901a

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On 10 March, officials at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, brought to a close a 6-week probe of a study that reportedly found that breast cancer patients, blitzed with drugs and then given a bone marrow transplant, lived longer than patients on standard chemotherapy. The university concluded that the researcher had misrepresented aspects of his study and had failed to obtain approval from the university's ethics board before proceeding, and fired him. Besides dashing hopes of a new last-ditch weapon against breast cancer, the ignoble episode may tarnish the public image of clinical research, some experts fear.