Cardiologist Misconduct Case Turned Over to German Prosecutors

Shelley Wood

February 25, 2014

DUSSELDORF, GERMANY — A research-misconduct case against a cardiologist long considered one of the pioneers of stem-cell therapies for heart failure has been turned over to lawmakers in Germany, according to a blog hosted by Nature[1].

The case centers on German cardiologist, Dr Bodo-Eckehard Strauer, who was one of the first to report that bone-marrow–derived stem cells could repair damaged myocardium.

A statement sent by the University of Dusseldorf to journalists says that its internal investigation turned up evidence of scientific misconduct in clinical trials Strauer lead over the past decade and a half, according to Nature blogger Alison Abbott. The results of this investigation have now been "been sent to the city's public prosecutors," Abbott states.

Last year, researchers at Imperial College London conducted an in-depth review of 48 of Strauer's published articles, finding discrepancies with how the papers, generated from just five clinical studies, reported results, patient numbers, and recruitment. A press release about that analysis quotes lead author Dr Darrel Francis saying, "The more we thought about it, the less we could understand."

According to Abbott, the university began its investigation of Strauer's work in late 2012 but has now referred its report to an internal disciplinary procedure that "is not expected to draw a conclusion until next year."

Strauer retired from his post at the University of Dusseldorf in 2009.

In a 2010 interview with heartwire about the results of his STAR-Heart trial, Strauer was asked why he believed his study had turned up positive results where other similar trials had not. His reply: the method of cell delivery.

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