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Ohio State cancer researcher Carlo Croce’s 7th paper withdrawn; university in review

The OSU College of Medicine is celebrating its centennial this year. Credit: Thomas Williams / Lantern photographer

Carlo Croce is the chair of Ohio State’s College of Medicine’s Department of Cancer Biology Genetics.
Credit: Lantern Archives

One of Ohio State’s most recognized researchers in the field of cancer treatment has had another paper retracted, according to a watch dog website, adding to the growing list of retractions facing Carlo Croce and leading to the university opening a review. 

Numerous allegations of falsified reports, plagiarism and fraud have been made against Croce over the years, many of which were reported by colleagues.

This most recent retraction marks the seventh for Croce, the chair of Ohio State’s College of Medicine’s Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics.

The most recent paper retracted, “Fhit Interaction with Ferredoxin Reductase Triggers Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species and Apoptosis of Cancer Cells” published in 2008, was pulled due to “errors that occurred in the construction” of various figures, according to Retraction Watch. The paper has been cited 50 times, per Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Additionally, 14 of Croce’s papers have been corrected for image and text issues such as manipulation, duplication, and errors, as well as two others earning expressions of concern.

“The Ohio State University takes allegations of research misconduct very seriously,” Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said in an email in response to Croce’s latest retraction. “As a result of concerns related to Dr. Carlo Croce, the university launched an independent review of our systems for ensuring research integrity. Until that review is completed, the university will not comment on retractions related to Dr. Croce.” 

Long thought to be one of the most renowned cancer researchers in the world, Croce was the subject of a lengthy New York Times article in March documenting years of falsification allegations against him.

Croce denied any wrongdoing concerning previous retractions or allegations, and Ohio State has cleared him five times.

When The Times reached out to Ohio State to inquire about Croce, the university was conducting its own independent review of Croce in January.

However, The Times article pointed out the conflict of interest the university faces when investigating its own researcher who brings in millions of dollars in federal grants. Ohio State has received $86 million in federal grants brought in by Croce’s research, the Times estimated.

University spokesman Chris Davey told The Lantern in March, when The Times story was published, that Ohio State has outspent the $86 million facilitating his research, and decried any implication that the university tolerated falsified research for monetary purposes.

Croce has also benefitted from and been a recipient of fundraising money going towards cancer research, such as the annual Pelotonia race.

In 2016, Croce’s total salary including bonus was more than $850,000.

Croce has never been penalized for his work, neither by Ohio State nor federal oversight agencies.

Croce did not respond to The Lantern’s request for comment prior to this article’s publication.

Editor’s note 9/1: An earlier vision of this article inaccurately said Ohio State is investigating Croce. In fact, the university is reviewing its systems for “ensuring research integrity.” 

3 comments

  1. Yeah they clearly take it seriously, serious enough that it took only 7 papers to be retracted along with numerous allegations of falsified reports, plagiarism and fraud to open up an investigation lol

  2. “$86 million in federal grants brought in by Croce’s research” That’s all you need to understand.

  3. Has OSU’s report on Croce ever been published?

    Back in March 2017 this is what OSU president was reported to have said.
    http://radio.wosu.org/post/amid-ethics-concerns-ohio-state-stands-behind-researcher-carlo-croce#stream/0

    “President Michael Drake says the school asked a team of people “with national reputations” in the field to look into the allegations and review Ohio State’s response to the misconduct claims.

    “And all the things that they found showed that our policies were appropriate, and we followed them appropriately,” Drake said on All Sides With Ann Fisher. “So, that’s the part that we really focused on. I think it turned out like we expected it would.”

    Drake said the team’s report was being finalized and would be publicly available when it was finished.”

    It sounds like he was more interested in OSU’s policies “our policies were appropriate, and we followed them appropriately,” Drake said on All Sides With Ann Fisher.”

    “I think it turned out like we expected it would.” From this it is not obvious if Drake is referring to the policies, or the findings about Croce.

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