Researchers found guilty of scientific misconduct
On Tuesday, Karolinska Institutet’s vice-chancellor Ole Petter Ottersen reached the decision to find Paolo Macchiarini, Philipp Jungebluth, Bernhard Holzgraefe and Håkan Kalzén guilty of scientific misconduct. The case relates to the article “Autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells as treatment in refractory acute respiratory distress syndrome”, published in 2015 in Respiration.
The article is a case study of a patient suffering from acute lung damage who, in 2011, received ECMO treatment at Karolinska University Hospital and thereafter experimental treatment.
On 22 April 2016, then acting vice-chancellor Karin Dahlman-Wright decided to initiate an inquiry into suspected scientific misconduct due to concerns expressed to KI regarding the article.
According to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance, universities are required to investigate suspected scientific misconduct and, during such an inquiry, may obtain an opinion from the Expert Group for Misconduct in Research at the Central Ethical Review Board, something that was done in the case in question.
According to the Vice-Chancellor’s decision, Respiration should be notified with a request that the article be immediately withdrawn.
None of the researchers who have been found guilty of scientific misconduct are employed by Karolinska Institutet and therefore they will not be subject to any disciplinary measures under employment legislation.
A decision is expected from the Vice-Chancellor in the spring regarding scientific misconduct relating to six articles of which Paolo Macchiarini was the main author. These include an article published in The Lancet describing the transplantation of a synthetic prosthesis into human trachea.