The following is an excerpt from Reuters.
Three medical journals recently launched independent investigations of possible data manipulation in heart studies led by Temple University researchers, Reuters has learned, adding new scrutiny to a misconduct inquiry by the university and the U.S. government.
The Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and the Journal of Biological Chemistry are investigating five papers authored by Temple scientists, the journals told Reuters.
A third journal owned by the Journal of American College of Cardiology (JACC), last month retracted a paper by Temple researchers on its website after determining that there was evidence of data manipulation.
The retracted paper had originally concluded that the widely-used blood thinner, Xarelto, could have a healing effect on hearts.
“We are committed to preserving the integrity of the scholarly record,” Elsevier, which owns the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and publishes the two other journals on behalf of medical societies, said in a statement to Reuters.
Philadelphia-based Temple began its own inquiry in September 2020 at the request of the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI), which oversees misconduct investigations into federally funded research, according to a lawsuit filed by one of the researchers.
The Temple investigation involves 15 papers published between 2008 and 2020 and supported by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, according to the court records.
Nine of the studies were supervised by Abdel Karim Sabri, a professor at Temple’s Cardiovascular Research Center.
His colleague Steven Houser, senior associate dean of research at Temple and former president of the American Heart Association, is listed as an author on five studies supervised by Sabri. Houser was also involved in four additional papers under scrutiny.
The probes highlight concerns over potential fabrication in medical research and the federal funds supporting it.
A Reuters investigation published in June found that the NIH spent hundreds of millions of dollars on heart stem cell research despite fraud allegations against several leading scientists in the field.
Temple did not notify the medical journals that it was conducting an inquiry at the request of the U.S. government agency, the journals told Reuters. They said that they began their inquiries independently.
Xarelto’s manufacturer, the Janssen Pharmaceuticals division of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), also told Reuters the supervising researchers at Temple did not notify the company about the investigation or the retraction by the JACC journal, though two of its employees were listed as co-authors on the paper.
NIH, ORI and Temple declined to comment on whether Temple would be required to return any federal funding of the work retracted by the JACC publication.
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