Recently, Japanese researchers’ articles about stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells were found to be flawed in an interim investigatory. It was reported that there had been “inappropriate handling of data” in drafting two STAP-related papers published in a renowned British scientific journal in January. One researcher said “I can’t understand why such a mistake has occurred.”
The researcher who had successfully managed to develop STAP cellsi replied: “There is no choice but to withdraw the papers now, but a member of the research team has expressed an intention to repeat the research all over again. We will then seek assessments for a new paper (by external researchers).”
Appearing to show a simple way for mature cells in mice to regain the ability to become any type of cell, the two STAP articles made major waves in the scientific community when they were published in the journal Nature in late January. However, those articles have since provoked a spate of doubts about the credibility of the research. Another researcher has admitted she processed images to make the research papers appear more attractive.
The STAP cell criticism came to light just as a team is getting ready to begin clinical research on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells as early as this summer. A key technique to be used in that research was developed by a co-author of the STAP cell papers. There are growing concerns that the iPS cell clinical research could be affected by the STAP cell issue.