Tarnished Cardiac Stem Cell Lab Hit With 13 More Retractions

Patrice Wendling

December 13, 2018

Two American Heart Association (AHA) journals, Circulation and Circulation Research, have retracted 13 papers from the now defunct laboratory of cardiac stem cell researcher Piero Anversa, MD.

All 13 papers earned expressions of concern last month when the AHA alerted readers that data in 15 publications from Anversa's lab might not be reliable.

"After considering input from the authors, the American Heart Association has determined that the best interest of the public and the research community will be served by issuing this notice of retraction," the AHA wrote for each of the 13 retractions in Circulation and Circulation Research.

Specifically, each of the retractions states there were "issues with some of the data" reported in figures in the papers, which appeared from 2008 to 2014.

In October, Anversa's former employer, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, called for the retraction of 31 journal studies by Anversa after an investigation that determined the publications included falsified and/or fabricated data.

Within days of the announcement, the New England Journal of Medicine retracted one paper and issued an expression of concern for two others by Anversa, who had been director of the Center of Regenerative Medicine at Brigham.

The ongoing saga also involves eight other papers previously corrected by Anversa and a $10 million settlement from Brigham and Partners Healthcare to the US government to settle allegations that research by Anversa and two colleagues was used to improperly obtain federal funding.

Citing an abundance of caution in the wake of the cell therapy retractions, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute announced in October that it was pausing the phase 2 CONCERT-HF trial. It is evaluating the safety and efficacy of c-kit-positive cardiac stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells, both alone and in combination, in patients with ischemic heart failure.

Retracted Articles
Human Cardiac Stem Cell Differentiation is Regulated by Mircrine Mechanism. Originally published in Circulation 2011; retracted 2018.
Age-Associated Defects in EphAs Signaling Impair the Migration of Human Cardiac Progenitor Cells. Originally published in Circulation 2013; retracted 2018.
Growth Properties of Cardiac Stem Cells Are a Novel Biomarker of Patients' outcome After Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery. Originally published in Circulation 2014; retracted 2018.
The Ephrin A1-EphA2 System Promotes Cardiac Stem Cell Migration After Infarction. Originally published in Circulation Research 2011; retracted 2018.
Progenitor Cells From the Explanted Heart Generate Immunocompatible Myocardium Within the Transplanted Donor Heart. Originally published in Circulation Research 2009; retracted 2018.
Cardiomyogenesis in the Adult Human Heart. Originally published in Circulation Research 2010; retracted 2018.
Role of Cardiac Stem Cells in Cardiac Pathophysiology: A Paradigm Shift in Human Myocardial Biology. Originally published in Circulation Research 2011; retracted 2018.
Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Receptor Identifies a Pool of Human Cardiac Stem Cells With Superior Therapeutic Potential for Myocardial Regeneration. Originally published in Circulation Research 2011; retracted 2018.
Created Equal? The Many Facets of Cell Reprogramming. Originally published in Circulation Research 2012; retracted 2018.
Cardiomyogenesis in the Developing Heart Is Regulated by C-Kit-Positive Cardiac Stem Cells. Originally published in Circulation Research 2012; retracted 2018.
Tracking Chromatid Segregation to Identify Human Cardiac Stem Cells That Regenerate Extensively the Infarcted Myocardium. Originally published in Circulation Research 2012; retracted 2018.
Activation of Cardiac Progenitor Cells Reverses the Failing Heart Senescent Phenotype and Prolongs Lifespan. Originally published in Circulation Research 2008; retracted 2018.

Myocyte Turnover in the Aging Human Heart. Originally published in Circulation Research 2010; retracted 2018.

Follow Patrice Wendling on Twitter: @pwendl. For more from theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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