Report finds misconduct by surgeon

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Science  29 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6238, pp. 954-955
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6238.954-b

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An independent investigation has concluded that surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, famous for transplanting tissue-engineered tracheae into more than a dozen people, committed scientific misconduct in publications describing the results of the operations. The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where Macchiarini is a visiting professor, commissioned the external inquiry after allegations arose in August 2014. The investigator, Bengt Gerdin, professor emeritus of surgery at Uppsala University, examined six papers about the patients and one on animal tests of the procedure and found a systemic misrepresentation of the success of the technique. He faults the papers for inaccurate or misleading descriptions of the condition of patients at the time of publication and for stating that ethical permission had been obtained for the work although there is none on record. The report, submitted to the Karolinska vice chancellor on 13 May, concludes that Macchiarini "is primarily responsible for incorrect or incomplete data published in numerous articles and thus guilty of scientific misconduct." Macchiarini has disputed the allegations. He and the researchers who brought the complaints have 2 weeks to comment on Gerdin's findings. Karolinska's vice chancellor will then decide what action to take, a Karolinska representative says.