Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dr. Woo, Gene Therapy and Scientific Misconduct

Why do scientists cheat?

Two unidentified post-docs from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have been terminated due to an investigation of scientific misconduct regarding falsification of data in three renown scientific journals related to gene therapy.

The work came from the research lab of Savio Woo, a leading gene therapy scientist studying phenylketonuria.

Gene therapy is an advanced biotechnology that uses genetically engineered infectious agents to target cures for human genetic diseases. Gene therapy is controversial because it has caused the deaths of patients in the past.

Despite the embarrassment, it is of value that Mount Sinai has taken disciplinary action against these scientists. It would be beneficial, however, to hear the other side of the story, making sure that these scientists have not been falsely accused. It also would be beneficial to address the reason why this scientific misconduct was not discovered earlier. 

Falsifying data has happened in the past in the scientific world.  It does, however, seem suspicious that TWO scientists would collude to falsify data.

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