May 11, 2012
Embryonic stem cell 'success' a lie
A British scientist, who has been working in the United States on embryonic stem-cell research, has resigned for fabricating results of his work.
Ophthalmologist Peter Francis has received permanent resident status in the U.S. on the basis of the country's interest in clinical researchers. In 2002, while still in Britain, he won the National Research prize for "Best up and coming medical researcher in the U.K.," and as of late, he has been working in Oregon on a pilot experiment funded by two federal grants.
But Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council (FRC) says that money was given because of the researcher's fabricated results.
"He puts in a couple of grant proposals to the National Institutes of Health [NIH] where he claims that he's gotten these great results essentially restoring sight to blind rats using embryonic stem cells," Prentice details.
But as it turns out, says the FRC spokesman, Francis never did those experiments; and in fact "he made the whole thing up."
"It came to light this was all a fraud. He decided discretion was the better part of valor and resigned his appointment," the FRC life sciences senior fellow reports. "In the meantime, all the NIH finally agreed to with him was a slap on the wrist. Basically, for the next two years, anything he writes, somebody else has to take a look at to just verify that he actually did an experiment, or so on."
Prentice believes the NIH "really ought to nail" Francis and anyone else who makes up research and commits fraud to get a grant. He also points out that embryonic stem-cell research, which kills a tiny human being, has produced no results. Adult stem cells, however, have produced dramatic and positive results.
Contact: Charlie Butts