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Scientific fraud

Summary:
From Lars Syll In 2022, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) placed a large bet on an experimental drug developed to limit brain damage after strokes … The gamble seemed warranted. Lab studies, most by a longtime grantee, prominent University of Southern California (USC) neuroscientist Berislav Zlokovic, had generated promising data. A small safety study of the drug, sponsored by a company Zlokovic co-founded called ZZ Biotech, was also encouraging. Because of its potential to address an unmet medical need, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the compound “fast track” status, with the prospect of “accelerated approval and priority review.” ZZ Biotech says the new trial should start within a few months … But a 113-page dossier obtained by Science from a small group

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from Lars Syll

In 2022, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) placed a large bet on an experimental drug developed to limit brain damage after strokes …

The gamble seemed warranted. Lab studies, most by a longtime grantee, prominent University of Southern California (USC) neuroscientist Berislav Zlokovic, had generated promising data. A small safety study of the drug, sponsored by a company Zlokovic co-founded called ZZ Biotech, was also encouraging.

Because of its potential to address an unmet medical need, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the compound “fast track” status, with the prospect of “accelerated approval and priority review.” ZZ Biotech says the new trial should start within a few months …

Scientific fraudBut a 113-page dossier obtained by Science from a small group of whistleblowers paints a less encouraging picture …

The dossier highlights evidence that dozens of papers from Zlokovic’s lab—including many supporting the idea that the compound was ready for human testing—contain seemingly doctored data that suggest scientific misconduct …

Speaking to Science anonymously, four former members of Zlokovic’s lab say the anomalies the whistleblowers found are no accident. They describe a culture of intimidation, in which he regularly pushed them and others in the lab to adjust data. Two of them said he sometimes had people change lab notebooks after experiments were completed to ensure they only contained the desired results. “There were clear examples of him instructing people to manipulate data to fit the hypothesis,” one of the lab members says.

Science

Lars Pålsson Syll
Professor at Malmö University. Primary research interest - the philosophy, history and methodology of economics.

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