Stem Cells and Advances in Tissue Regeneration: Fact, Fraud and Downright Stupidity – Prof Malcolm Alison – Professor of Stem Cell Biology DSc, FRCPath
Stem cells with their seemingly infinite capacity for self-renewal, are central figures in the battle to replace tissues and organs ravaged by injury and old age; regenerative medicine aims to harness this potential. Embryonic stem cells and so-called induced pluripotential stem cells make newspaper headlines, but equally important are somatic stem cells that fuel cell replacement on a daily basis. Regenerative medicine like any branch of science is based on trust and scientific integrity. Unfortunately, scientific misconduct is increasingly common, ranging from simple plagiarism to data manipulation and even completely fake data. Some of this activity has been aided and abetted by an explosion in predatory journals and conferences where editorial oversight is non-existent, but misdemeanours and even criminal activity have also been uncovered in many prestigious journals, undoubtedly driven because publication ensures the author of both fame and fortune (further Grant funding and employment). This talk will illustrate some of the very obvious and not so obvious examples of misconduct, the scale of which can be gauged by the thousands of published papers that have been withdrawn after further scrutiny (https://retractionwatch.com). I will also highlight the downside of stem cells being the cell-of-origin of most, if not all cancers and other diseases such as endometriosis.