Skip to comments.The ghosts of HeLa: How cell line misidentification contaminates the scientific literature
Posted on 10/22/2017 10:19:38 PM PDT by Sam_Damon
While problems with cell line misidentification have been known for decades, an unknown number of published papers remains in circulation reporting on the wrong cells without warning or correction. Here we attempt to make a conservative estimate of this contaminated literature. We found 32,755 articles reporting on research with misidentified cells, in turn cited by an estimated half a million other papers.
(Excerpt) Read more at dx.plos.org ...
Scientists are human too, fully capable of mistakes. In this case, some honking big mistakes.
Settled science. Nothing to see here. Move along.
I hate to overreact, but isn’t this something of a scandal?
Time, money, and scientific labor wasted?
I would guess there are other areas in research with poor sample control.....but trust me...im a scientist...
Somber figure in white lab coat - "But, we are SCIENTISTS! We have unimpeachable integrity! We are LEARNED geniuses! Like the Pope, when we speak Ex Cathedra, the 'Science is Settled- tm'! "
I recall reading that HeLa contamination in various samples seemed to have spread to all major US research facilities, so in order to replenish other lines, samples were sought in the USSR.
And the USSR lines were likewise all contaminated, filled with nothing but HeLa cells. And this was before detente and glasnost.
Medical research was compromised decades ago. The ‘publish or perish’ mindset at the large medical institutions is but one culprit. I was working at one such institution when I was told by a doctor that another doctor was making great breakthroughs in the type of cancer that my dad had. Turned out the guy had faked ALL his cell lines and was just writing papers/articles. He was booted from the daunting institution, but was allowed to still work in his specialty at another hospital.....just no research ever again.