Web Zap*Germs Archive

October 28, 2005

MIT Fires Prof Who Falsified Cancer-Research Data

If we can't trust medical researchers' integrity, it's bad for the credibility of the entire medical profession. Kudos to MIT for dismissing Luk Van Parijs, an associate professor in its Center for Cancer Research.

The school says Van Parijs admitted to fabricating and falsifying data in a paper, several manuscripts and grant applications. Details from an AP report:
[MIT] wouldn't identify the work that contained the allegedly fabricated data. But in May, the journal Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics published a correction of an 2004 article of which Van Parijs was the lead author, the [Boston] Globe reported.

The correction said the article's authors were unable to document a claim that researchers had found a way to use a virus to both make the blood of a mouse cancerous and block the actions of specific genes to see how that would affect the cancer. Such a finding would advance cancer research by making it easier to study blood cancers in mice.

Among Van Parijs' other work was a 2003 study published in the journal Nature Genetics that explained how to use RNA interference to turn genes off in cells, a potential step toward silencing genes involved in disease.

[MIT spokeswoman Denise] Brehm said Van Parijs was conducting "basic scientific research" on the defects in immune cells during disease development.


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