Japan’s top research body on Tuesday accused the lead writer of stem cell papers hailed as a game-changer in the field of medical biology of misconduct involving fabrication.
Two papers published in the scientific journal Nature in January detailed simple ways to reprogram mature animal cells back to an embryonic-like state, allowing them to generate many types of tissues.
Such a step would offer hope for a simpler way to replace damaged cells or grow new organs in humans.
But reports have since pointed out irregularities in data and images used in the papers, prompting RIKEN, a semi-governmental research institute and employer of the lead writer, to set up a panel to look into the matter.
“Actions like this completely destroy data credibility,” Shunsuke Ishii, head of the committee, told a news conference.
“There is no doubt that she was fully aware of this danger.
We’ve therefore concluded this was an act of research misconduct involving fabrication.”
In a statement, Obokata said she would soon file a complaint with RIKEN, challenging the findings.