Open Letter in support of my investigation of trachea transplants in Germany, by Rafael Cantera

Below a support letter by Rafael Cantera, professor of zoology at the University of Stockholm in Sweden, addressed to the leadership of the University Clinic Würzburg. This is because two professors of this German university, Thorsten Walles and Heike Mertsching (now Walles) chose to respond to my inquiries about their earlier trachea transplants made from pig intestine (see my detailed report here) with lawyers’ financial blackmail and right after, with court actions, which had me sentenced guilty with a  threat of a prison term of 6 months, without my prior knowledge (see case description here). Such are the peculiarities of German law: internet bloggers are basically  legally defined here by default as criminals, and professors as infallible and divine beings (in fact, even Walleses’ former boss and collaborator Paolo Macchiarini is still a protected adjunct professor at their former common place of work, the Medical University Hannover). I received lots of support from my readers, and was also invited to give an interview with the French magazine Mediapart (German version here). Now, I am deeply grateful to Prof. Cantera for his support, and hope other international and maybe even German academics join in and sign below. 

rcantera_about
Rafael Cantera, author of Open Letter below (source: Stockholm University)

A conspiracy of German institutions against freedom of information

The Walleses even admitted to their judge in Würzburg that they did receive my questions in advance, but chose not to reply to them. They instead even revealed to the court their immediate intentions to find out my private address and had me slapped with a costly court injunction and a threat of a prison term, from the very beginning. The judge however apparently saw my act of asking inconvenient questions alone as an act of blasphemy against German professors.  The only  evidence against me which this Würzburg regional court judge actually bothered to scrutinise was the Walleses’ academic employment situation and their current applications to new professorships. That “evidence” fully sufficed to declare me guilty of slanderous libel against two German professors, what I actually wrote about their trachea transplants on my site was utterly irrelevant in this context. It was enough that the Walleses did not like it.

While they and their pricey lawyer prepared this legal attack on basic freedoms of speech and press, their employers, the University of Würzburg and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology in Stuttgart, repeatedly refused to answer any of my questions regarding those 3 tracheal transplants, even when requested to do so under legally binding freedom of information law. Most recently, I asked the Fraunhofer institute to explain if any animal testing at all was performed before their researcher Heike Walles delivered in 2007 and 2009 pig-intestine-derived tracheal grafts which her husband then implanted into two patients. The internet biomedical portal PubMed suggests that to the very least, no animal experiments at all were published by the Walleses in this regard, before or after the method was initially first tested on a human patient together with Macchiarini in Hannover in 2004.

Update 23.01.2017: The Fraunhofer Institute admitted that no animal testing was deemed necessary prior to two patient transplants. Details here.

Instead answering my questions, the University Clinic of Würzburg allowed their two professors to use these affiliations to suggest that they were actually acting in court against me as representatives of the entire University Clinic. It went as far that both the University and the University Clinic Würzburg refused to even acknowledge receiving my administrative complaints about their two professors, never mind processing those. My freedom of information inquiries to the German Ministry of Education and Research and the medicinal product watchdog Paul-Ehrlich-Institut about the Walles’ ministry-funded clinical trial and about the approvals for their previous trachea transplants, are as yet unanswered, even after the legally binding time period of one month to deliver a reply has long expired. It is none of nosy public’s business if human experiments in German research institutions (with none of the affected patients being currently alive) were ever properly approved  or, if indeed these experiments actually still take place or are being prepared. The status of the aforementioned federally-funded multi-patient clinical trial with pig intestine-made trachea is confidential and not for us to know. If you want to speak of academic conspiracy in Germany, here is a big and a highly unsavoury one.

In fact, the Walles’ lawyer just sent me another threatening letter, demanding of me to accept the court injunction, pay his clients an unspecified compensation damage and him around €1800 lawyer’s fee.

csm_thorsten_und_heike_walles_a2f15ad681
Don’t you dare ask questions about their trachea transplants, or you’ll go to prison. These are two German professors and the law is on their side. Thorsten and Heike Walles, image source: University of Würzburg.

Open Letter in support of Schneider’s investigation of trachea transplants in Germany, by Rafael Cantera

Prof. Dr. med. Georg Ertl, Medical Director University Clinic Würzburg, Germany.

Prof. Dr. med. Matthias Frosch, Dean of Medical Faculty, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

c/c Leonid Schneider

January 15, 2017

Dear colleagues,

For months I’ve been reading in the Swedish press as well as on Leonid Schneider’s blog For Better Science many notes about the scandalous trachea transplantations on human patients in which Dr. Paolo Macchiarini has been involved and for which he’s been, and is still investigated in Sweden. This was an extraordinary scandal for the Karolinska Institute and the Karolinska University Hospital; it has already resulted in several resignations and investigations, including a police investigation of Macchiarini himself. Fortunately, the Swedish authorities and academy adopted an open, self-critical and transparent reaction and in due process questions from journalists were answered, documents were made public, investigations were initiated and conclusions were reported to the public. For his fantastic journalistic investigation of this story  “of fraudulent research” that “revealed life-threatening ambition in the academic world” the Swedish journalist Bo Lindquist was awarded the Swedish Grand Prize for Journalism in 2016.

In spite of that, according to the Swedish press and academic colleagues of mine in Sweden and other countries this scandal might have negative, perhaps long-lasting consequences on the public trust and confidence in science and medicine and so, in my opinion, it deserves to be investigated to the last link and detail. If the public trust is to be restored, every trachea transplantation in which Macchiarini and his collaborators were directly or indirectly involved should be investigated and the results must be clearly and openly reported to the public. In doing so, which as a scientist I think is necessary and important, Leonid Schneider started to investigate the activities of the German professors Heike and Thorsten Walles, who were also involved in trachea transplantations and had professional links to Macchiarini and his activities (primarily: Macchiarini et al 2004 and Walles et al, 2004).

Now, after reading about the court trial in Bavaria against Leonid Schneider, I have the unpleasant feeling that it is perhaps the intent to punish him for his investigations and to avoid further investigations of possible misconduct in German universities regarding Macchiarini-related trachea transplantations. This feeling will be supported if it was correct, I as was told, that both research institutions involved, namely the Fraunhofer Society and the University of Würzburg refused to answer questions regarding the two experimental trachea transplants on human patients they performed and later on published (Mertsching et al 2009  and Steinke et al, 2015 ). Moreover, it appears that Professors Walles acted apparently with full approval of their academic employer by using their academic affiliations with the University Clinic Würzburg. The outcome was a court injunction passed in absentia against Leonid Schneider forbidding him to state facts which Professors Walles themselves had been repeating often and widely just some years ago in interviews, press releases, books and research publications.

Leonid Schneider can count with my support and I hope you will also help him in his important investigation, answering his questions and providing as much information as you can disclose.

Yours sincerely,

Rafael Cantera, PhD

Professor

Zoology Institute, Stockholm University

Stockholm, Sweden


Dear readers, If you wish to express your support as well, please comment with your full name and institutional affiliation below.

If you would like to support my court litigation financially, donation amount doesn’t matter, please go to my Patreon site or contact me


Update 4.02.2017. The signatories of this letter have been subjected to an “alternative facts” campaign by Walles’ employee Jan Hansmann. Details here.

222 thoughts on “Open Letter in support of my investigation of trachea transplants in Germany, by Rafael Cantera

  1. I stand with Professor Cantera in support of Leonid Schneider.

    Theodore S. Dibble
    Professor of Chemistry
    State University of New York- College of Environmental Science and Forestry
    Syracuse, NY USA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Living in the British Isles, I was very aware of how important investigative journalism was in unmasking Andrew Wakefield, which proved beyond the powers of the academic establishment, despite their commitment to research transparency. Legal and professional action could only follow when journalists placed the full facts in the public domain. We have also had attempts by homeopaths to use the law to gag those researchers who discovered their treatments did not work. Leonid Schneider is currently asking questions which, to my knowledge, have not been answered. Germany knows better than many countries about the danger of allowing legal procedure to hide wrongdoing. I hope that will not be the case here
      Dr David Foreman FRCPsych FRCPCH
      King’s College London
      (this comment was made in a personal capacity)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree entirely with Professor Cantera. There is much that is hidden about this work and in the interests of medical ethics and the trust of the public in science and medicine it is important that bright sunlight is allowed to shine in the many dark corners in the different countries (not just Germany and Sweden) involved in this disgraceful saga.

    Professor David G Fernig
    Professor of Biological Chemistry
    Department of Biochemistry
    Institute of Integrative Biology
    University of Liverpool
    Liverpool, UK

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am not a Professor, but a Pharmacist working in UK and everyday I have to check prescriptions and advice patients. I can see many useful drugs in the shelves of the pharmacies what corresponds to brilliant science work by many several different scientists. For these reasons I believe it is important to shed light in cases like the Walles and many others around the world.
    I believe Leonid is doing a wonderful job not only for the sake of science but also for the sake of patient’s good health and must be fully supported in his endeavours

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Let’s be clear. This is a case of an independent journalist who is threatened with imprisonment and/or financial ruin for repeating facts already in the public domain. As a historian and as someone who tries to be a decent human being, such a situation scares the hell out of me. Is Germany becoming some sort of tin-pot dictatorship, in which justice belongs to the rich and powerful while ordinary citizens are unprotected? Wait and see.
    Faye Getz, Ph.D.
    Independent Historian
    Somewhere in Rhode Island
    USA

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I strongly support Dr. Cantera’s initiative to denounce the violation of freedom of speak of Dr. Schneider, that apparently the german govement grants to scientist according to unknown and obscure criteria. I regard this verdict as highly undemocratic, fascist, and absolutely unacceptable.

    SIGNED: Ana M. Rojas
    Head of Comptuational Biology and Bioinformatics Group
    Institute of Biomedicine of Seville, Spain.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The act of the Walles, possibly supported by their university, is to be condemned as not only incompatible with, but as wholly contrary to basic academic principles of minimal decency. It moreover serves neither to clear the Walles of suspicion och research fraud and/or serious research ethical breach, nor to save the reputation of their employer – quite the contrary. had the Walles and the university of Würzburg had any honest intent of clearing up whatever faults may in the past have been committed and to clear themselves of false accusation, they should long ago have invited open critical inquiry. The move to scare, or force by financial pressure, Leonid Schneider to relate already publicly available information about this case is nothing but shameful.

    Christian Munthe
    Professor of practical philosophy, specialising in bioethics and the ethics of science & technology
    University of Gothenburg
    Sweden

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In full support of the letter of Rafael Cantera and the efforts of Leonid Schneider to stop this tracheal regeneration bubble.
    Pierre Delaere
    Professor of ORL Head & Neck Surgery
    UZ Leuven
    Belgium

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I fully support Leonid Schneider in his important investigation of the tracheal regeneration scandal. It is unbelivable that these life threatning experiments have been and still are supported with research funding in Germany, UK and EU in general.
    Morten Oksvold
    Research scientist
    Oslo University Hospital, Norway.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I fully support the opinion expressed by Rafael Cantera in the above open letter.
    Johan Thyberg
    Pensioned professor of cell and molecular biology
    Karolinska Institutet
    Stockholm, Sweden

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This ridiculous court ruling must be swiftly overturned. Let the truth be free.

    Boris Barbour
    Director of Research
    CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure
    Paris, France

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter. To understand how these experiments were allowed to be performed on human patients in the absence of any safety and efficacy data from animal studies, it is important to investigate all of the tracheal transplantations involving Macchiarini and his collaborators. Hopefully, by identifying the flaws/loop-holes in our current systems that permitted this to happen, it will be possible to implement measures to prevent similar things from happening again. Thanks to investigative journalists such as Bo Lindquist and Leonid Schneider for bringing these stories to light.

    Patricia Murray
    Professor of Stem Cell Biology
    Departmet of Cellular and Molecular Physiology
    Institute of Translational Medicine
    University of Liverpool, UK

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I support Professor Cantera’s letter in support of Leonid Schneider.
    Andrey Alexeyenko
    Ph.D., associate professor

    http://research.scilifelab.se/andrej_alexeyenko/
    NBIS - National Bioinformatics Infrastructure Sweden http://nbis.se
    Science For Life Laboratory http://www.scilifelab.se/
    Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institute http://www.mtc.ki.se/
    https://www.evinet.org/, http://funcoup2.sbc.su.se/
    e-mail: andrej.alekseenko@scilifelab.se
    phone: +46-(0)8 5248 1513
    address: SciLifeLab, Box 1031, 171 21 Solna, Sweden
    

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am sorry to see that Leonid is let down by the german academic system (no german scientist reading and supporting this?!?). A sad state for research when not even higher academic (Uni Würzburg and Fraunhofer IGB) or political (BMBF) institutions in Germany are willing to support scientific transparency, morality and openness.
    Keep up the good work, Leonid.

    Aleksander Benjak
    Scientific Officer
    NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering
    University of Basel, Switzerland

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter and the freedom of Leonid Schneider to do his inquiries. The key point is that the truth finally emerge from these complex affairs. Previous experiences have shown that we cannot trust academic institutions to provide the information, investigative journalists can play an important role.
    Bruno Lemaitre
    Global Health Insitute
    EPFL Lausanne,

    Like

  15. I strongly support Professor Cantera’s letter and the freedom of speech.

    Dr Violaine See
    Senior lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry
    University of Liverpool, UK

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I strongly support this letter by Rafael Cantera. Leonid Schneider has done a very important work to promote transparency, honesty and fairness in science. Academia is in great need of people who take on these tasks, which are neither paid, nor always rewarded.
    The Macchiarini scandal has severely wounded the trust of the general public in science and it is utterly important that there are scientists who. like Leonid Schneider, stand up for the principles that should guide science. The scientific community should be very grateful for his job.
    Agnes Wold
    Professor, senior consultant
    Clinical Bacteriology
    The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for writing this letter. I am happy to add my full support against the intimidation of Leonid Schneider and the diligent and careful work he is doing on behalf of scientific integrity. Shooting the messenger adds even more legitimacy to the idea that this needs even more investigation.

    Jim Woodgett
    Director, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Toronto, Canada

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I strongly support this letter by Rafael Cantera and the the important work of Leonid Schneider.

    Gunilla Källenius
    MD, PhD, Professor
    Karolinska Institutet
    Stockholm

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I fully support the open letter of professor Cantera and the work of Leonid Schneider.

    Nicolas Robine
    Assistant Director, Computational Biology
    New York Genome Center
    New York, NY. USA

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I fully agree with the contents of the letter by Prof. Cantera and fully support the need of clarifications claimed by Leonid Schneider

    Luigi Naselli-Flores, PhD
    Department of Biological, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies
    University of Palermo, Italy

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter in support of the important work that Leonid Schneider is doing to promote transparency and fairness in science.
    Luciano Conti, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Centre for Integrative Biology – CIBIO
    Università degli Studi di Trento
    Via Sommarive 9, 38123 Povo (TN), ITALY

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I stand with Professor Cantera in support of Leonid Schneider. The court action is scandalous and cowardly. For the interests of future patients and good science, the trachael transplantations concerned must be openly investigated.
    Dr Tristram Wyatt
    Kellogg College
    University of Oxford, UK

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I support open and transparent investigation and evaluation of research in any area, and in that spirit I support Leonid Schneider’s search for the facts in this case.

    Shravan Vasishth
    Professor of Linguistics,
    University of Potsdam, Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Freedom of Speech, freedom of investigation, freedom of blogging, freedom of journalism should be protected -more so at such times when they are being threatened.
    Bishal Gyawali
    PhD scholar at Nagoya University, Japan.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I fully support the letter from prof. Cantera and I stand with Leonid Schneider, which painstakingly investigate misconduct in science.

    Enrico Bucci, PhD

    Adjunct Professor in Systems Biology
    SHRO – Temple University
    1900 N 12th St – 19122 Philadelphia, PA – US

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Leonid, thank you for your important investigations.

    I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter.

    Xenia Schmalz
    Post-doctoral researcher
    Department of Developmental Psychology & Socialisation
    Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

    Liked by 1 person

  27. An in absentia court injunction to suppress public domain knowledge? Absurd. I support the open letter of Rafael Cantera
    Mark Humphries, PhD
    University of Manchester

    Liked by 1 person

  28. While I am not trained in medicine and do not know the case of Macchiarini or the Walleses in detail, I am a strong supporter of the idea that science should be an open endeavour. All science should be open to further scrutiny, not least when people’s health or lives are at stake. Therefore I strongly support this call to support Leonid Schneider and his investigation and find the apparent methods of legally punishing him for merely repeating statements already made in public completely outrageous.

    Thomas Arildsen
    Associate Professor in Signal Processing at Aalborg University

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I strongly support the letter by Rafael Cantera, the work of Leonid Schneider, fair trials, the right to defend yourself, and freedom of speech, no country can impose silence.
    Graziella Pellegrini
    Professor of Applied Biology
    University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
    Modena, Italy

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I fully support this letter and thank Leonid and others who have investigated this issue.

    Professor Magnus Rattray
    Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
    University of Manchester, UK

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I also fully support Professor Cantera’s letter and acknowledge the importance of Leonid Schneider in promoting transparency in science. Leonid Schneider deserves the right to defend himself, hopefully, these charges will be dropped. Nobody deserves to be punished for exposing such illicit and dubious ‘science’. Keep up the good work Leonid Schneider.

    Itumeleng Moroenyane
    Ph.D Candidate
    Institut National de la Recherche Scientifque
    Institut Armand-Frappier
    Laval, Quebec
    Canada

    Liked by 1 person

  32. In support of Leonid and the freedom of science journalism.

    Michele De Palma, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    School of Life Sciences
    Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I also fully support Professor Cantera’s letter. I am shocked that the trial against Leonid Schneider was conducted in his absence and that his requests for relevant information were denied, despite being made under legally binding freedom of information laws.

    Science seeks to advance our knowledge and understanding, but this goal will be derailed if we cannot act with transparency and integrity.

    Sincerely,

    William Cawthorn
    Chancellor’s Fellow and MRC Career Development Fellow
    University/BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science
    The Queen’s Medical Research Institute
    The University of Edinburgh, UK
    Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ
    W.Cawthorn@ed.ac.uk
    Twitter: @MATscientists
    Web: Edinburgh Research Explorer

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Science is only “self-correcting” if we allow members of the scientific community, and the broader public, the freedom to discuss theories, techniques, findings, and ethical implications. Legal attempts to chill such open discussion are a strike against the organized skepticism which is essential to good science.

    I cosign Prof. Cantera’s letter.

    Janet D. Stemwedel
    Department of Philosophy
    San Jose State University
    San Jose, California, USA

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I strongly support the letter of Professor Cantera and the freedom of Leonid Schneider to pursue his investigations without the threat of financial or legal penalties.

    Dr Ruth Dixon,
    Researcher, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, UK.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I strongly support the open letter of professor Cantera.

    Dr Stephane Lemaire
    Directeur de recherche CNRS
    Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique
    Paris
    France

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Prof Dorothy Bishop asked me to place this comment on her behalf:

    “It is remarkable that a University should have recourse to legal threats against a journalist who is requesting information.
    Such behaviour is likely to have the opposite effect from that intended, by drawing attention to the dispute and by damaging the reputation of the University.
    Dorothy Bishop”

    Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology
    Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow
    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
    Oxford, UK

    Like

  38. I have read the letter and would like to support the notion that all science should be open and questioned and scrutinised. To be against this scrutiny is to be against the idea of science – that it has a logical system of examining the world. No scientist is above scrutiny, nor should they wish to be.

    Prof. James McInerney PhD DSc FLS,
    Chair in Evolutionary Biology | Director, Evolution, Systems and Genomics,
    Joint Academic Lead, Women’s & Children’s MAHSC Domain,
    Division of Evolution and Genomic Sciences, School of Biological Sciences,
    Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health,
    The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre,
    Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter and Leonid Schneider’s excellent work covering the tracheal transplantation scandal. Good quality science requires transparency and critical investigation. The court case against Leonid Schneider frontally attacks both of these fundamental prerequisites, apart from seemingly violating the defendant’s basic rights to defend himself in court.

    Dr. Johannes Jäger
    Scientific Director
    Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI)
    Klosterneuburg, Austria

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Count me as a supporter of Dr Schneider. This is an abuse of the flawed German legal system, and in the US would be promptly dismissed by anti-SLAPP statutes present in many states.

    Paul Brookes,
    Professor of Anesthesiology,
    University of Rochester, NY, USA.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Critically questioning scientific findings and medical acts is part of the scientific method, and discussing this in public is a matter of freedom of speech. There I agree with Professor Cantera that Leonid Schneider’s investigations should not be blocked by a court trial.

    Konrad Hinsen
    Centre Biophysique Moléculaire
    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
    Orléans, France

    Like

  42. As a German having been working in research outside of Germany for many years, I am shocked by how this is handled by the German authorities. I hereby wish to express my support to Leonid Schneider.
    Ionas Erb
    Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG),
    The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology
    C\ Dr Aiguader, 88
    08003 Barcelona, Spain

    Liked by 1 person

  43. I strongly support Dr. Cantera’s initiative to denounce the violation of freedom of speak of Dr. Schneider.

    David Wasserman
    Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
    Nashville, TN 37232
    USA

    Liked by 1 person

  44. The right of scientists and journalists to critically investigate and examine research findings is absolutely fundamental for science to flourish and needs to be defended.

    I support Professor Cantera’s letter.

    Federico Vaggi, PhD
    Ecole Normale Supérieure / INRIA
    Paris, France

    Liked by 1 person

  45. I support prof Cantera ‘s letter. There should no space for lies and secrets in science.
    Francesca Stefanato
    JIC Molecular Microbiology.
    Norwich

    Liked by 1 person

  46. I strongly support this open letter. That this court injunction could have passed without hearing Leonid Schneider first, is almost unbelievable. If that’s all legally in order it gives people/institutions way too much room to silence critics in my opinion.

    Pepijn van Erp, The Netherlands

    Liked by 1 person

  47. I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter. I am chocked by the legal pressures exerted on Leonid Schneider, which add an additional layer of shame to this scandal.

    Vincent Fleury
    Director of Research
    CNRS, Université Paris Diderot
    Paris, France

    Liked by 1 person

  48. I support the views expressed by Prof Cantera and am horrified by how the Walles are abusing the German court system to avoid having to accept responsibility for their activities.

    Dr Arnoud van Vliet
    University of Surrey
    UK

    Liked by 1 person

  49. While I do not necessarily agree with Schneider’s interpretation of the Germany legal and university system, the legal response seems indeed grossly disproportionate. My understanding is that Schneider merely repeated what was reported by the author Bernhard Albrecht, whom Thorsten Walles had endorsed. That Walles was intimately associated with Macchiarini, and that Macchiarini is a scientific charlatan who has caused both science and his patients great harm are facts. One can only hope that Walles has since distanced himself from Macchiarini.
    Prof. Dr. Detlef Weigel
    Director
    Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology,
    Tübingen, Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  50. In support of the content of the above letter,
    Jan Borén
    Professor and chair
    Dept of Molecular and Clinical Medicie
    University of Gothenburg
    SWEDEN

    Liked by 1 person

  51. I strongly support the open letter of professor Cantera.

    Philipp Rauf PhD
    former affiliation
    Max-Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics
    79108 Freiburg im Breisgau
    Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  52. I fully support this open letter.

    I also wish Leonid Schneider good luck in his quest to uncover the flaws in the system and the disregard shown to patient welfare.

    Dr Mathis Riehle
    Centre for Cell Engineering
    University of Glasgow, UK

    Like

  53. I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter.

    Thank you Leonid, be strong!

    Dr. Misha Soskine
    (Until recently, postdoc in Groningen University, The Netherlands)

    Liked by 1 person

  54. I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter and Leonid Schneider’s work reporting these dangerous cases of fraud that are largely ignored by the press or silenced by legal actions.

    Travis Stracker,
    Principal Investigator, Oncology Programme
    IRB Barcelona, Spain

    Like

  55. Wow, this is disturbing. I support the letter above. Best of luck Leonid.
    Georgia Carson
    PhD candidate
    Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

    Liked by 1 person

  56. I fully support Rafael Cantera’s letter and Leonid Schneider’s efforts to investigate this matter.

    Misha Angrist, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Duke University
    Durham, North Carolina USA

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Count me in.
    Benjamin Schwessinger PhD.
    Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow
    Rathjen Lab
    Division of Plant Science
    Research School of Biology
    College of Medicine, Biology, and Environment
    Linnaeus Building (134), Linnaeus Way
    The Australian National University
    Canberra ACT 0200 Australia

    Liked by 1 person

  58. I strongly support Professor Cantera’s letter and Leonid Schneider’s right to report these issues. We have a duty to humanity to be open and transparent on these issues.
    Laura Machesky FRSE, FMedSci
    Professor of Cell Biology
    CRUK Beatson Institute Glasgow
    University College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
    Garscube Estate, Switchback Rd. Bearsden, Glasgow, G61 1BD

    Liked by 1 person

  59. I support Prof. Cantera’s letter. I hope that the University Clinic Würzburg will perform a full investigation on the ethical issues surrounding the trachea transplants and will reconsider their role in the court case against Leonid Schneider.

    Willem van Schaik
    Associate Professor
    University Medical Center Utrecht
    the Netherlands

    Liked by 1 person

  60. Along with Dr. Cantera, I fully support the open and unbiased investigation into ethical concerns surrounding the work of Dr. Macchiarini and participating colleagues, whether from Sweden, Germany or elsewhere. Leonid Schneider and other journalists must be encouraged to ask questions and report in order to maintain scientific trust and transparency.

    James D. Sutherland, PhD
    CIC bioGUNE
    Bilbao, Spain

    Like

  61. Science and ethics both rely totally on open discussion. The issues described here urgently need to be examined and discussed in the broad light of day. Not doing so openly is an abnegation of ethics and of scientific truth – everyone needs to do better.

    Professor Robert Insall FRSE
    Glasgow, UK

    Liked by 1 person

  62. I fully support this open letter from Professor Cantera as well as the important work of Leonid Schneider.

    Vicki Vance, PhD
    Department of Biological Sciences
    University of South Carolina
    Columbia, SC, USA

    Liked by 1 person

  63. It is extremely important that the University of Wuerzburg investigates these allegations. If these transplants were done in the Macchiarini way, without robust preclinical investigations, there is a serious problem which should not be covered up.
    Responding to Leonid Schneider’s investigations with a law suit is an incredible move which is highly detrimental to the trust in science.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. I support the letter by Rafael Cantera and the work of Leonid Schneider.
    Threats of litigation in response to journalistic inquiries about research is just… wrong.

    Anna Petersson, M.D., Ph.D.
    Stockholm, Sweden

    Liked by 1 person

  65. As a former academic in America and Germany and the current managing editor of a German-based scientific journal, I personally fully support the letter by Rafael Cantera and the important work of Leonid Schneider.

    Wendy M. Patterson, Ph.D.
    Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  66. I strongly support Leonid Schneider who is doing an important and difficult task of investigative science journalism. I do believe in law and, therefore, I think that if Leonid was wrongly accused in the court, the case should be fought back in the court. The scientific online community can be asked to support this case by crowd-sourcing to fund a good lawyer and/or by contributing direct legal support.
    Dr Vladimir Teif,
    University of Essex

    Liked by 2 people

  67. Openness and transparency are core values of science. An in absentia court injunction to suppress public domain knowledge is ridiculous. The course of action is a shame for the German court and the University Clinic of Würzburg and should be corrected as soon as possible.

    I fully support the support letter.

    PD Dr. Felix Schönbrodt
    ARaZ
    Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
    Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  68. I fully support Professor Cantera’s letter in support of Leonid Schneider as well as freedom of speech.

    Henning Langer, MSc
    ECRC
    Berlin, Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  69. I agree with this letter from Rafael Cantera in support of Leonid Schneider and the exposure of research malpractice.
    Austin Smith
    Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
    United Kingdom

    Liked by 1 person

  70. I am adding my support as well.
    Open, even critical, fact-based assessments of biomedical science are vital and threats against transparency must be countered.
    Paul Knoepfler
    UC Davis School of Medicine
    Sacramento, CA USA

    Liked by 1 person

  71. I fully support this letter and the important work of Leonid Schneider for the transparency of science.
    Hector Hernandez-Vargas, MD, PhD
    IARC
    Lyon, France

    Liked by 1 person

  72. I fully support the investigantional journalism of Leonid Schneider, transparent and evidence-based science, and reject the attempts of all individuals and institutions acting in opposite manner.
    Tomo Saric
    Center for Physiology and Pathophysiology
    University of Cologne, Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  73. It is distressing to read about attempt to suppress information in this manner. It is not the first time I’ve seen misbehaving scientists use the courts to stifle academic discourse. We must stand against this in these dangerous times.

    Mary Mangan, PhD
    Somerville, MA USA

    Liked by 1 person

  74. I also strongly support the the letter of Prof. Cantera in this matter. The action of the involved universities is more than questionable.
    Christian Praetorius, PhD
    Dresden, Germany

    Like

  75. I would like to voice my support for Professor Rafael Cantera in support of Leonid Schneider. Openness and the right to be able to question findings are vital to helping move science forward.

    Marc Sze, PhD
    Ann Arbor, USA

    Liked by 1 person

  76. I support the letter of Prof. Cantera. It is deeply troubling when science becomes mixed with litigation in this manner. A Court injunction to suppress information that is already in the public domain is both self-serving and absurd.

    Prof. M.R. Blatt FRSE FRSB
    Regius Professor of Botany
    Glasgow University

    Liked by 1 person

  77. I fully support the letter of Prof. Cantera, Leonid’s work, freedom of press and investigative journalism.

    Victor Tatarskiy, PhD.
    Research Scientist
    Russian Cancer Center

    Liked by 1 person

  78. I wish to express my support for Leonid Schneider’s investigative journalism. I may not always agree with his stridency but his motives in exposing corrupt and illegal scientific practices are entirely praiseworthy.
    I think it is morally reprehensible for academics and academic institutions to sic lawyers and threats on journalists. Both our professions deal with truth and the freedom of speech is the truth’s surest defence.

    Devang Mehta, MRes & DIC

    PhD Fellow,
    ETH Zurich

    Liked by 1 person

  79. I support this letter of Prof. Cantera in support of Leonid Schneider and independent investigative journalism!
    Zhanna Alekseenko, PhD
    Department of Cell and Molecular Biology,
    Karolinska Institutet

    Liked by 1 person

  80. I strongly support Dr. Cantera’s initiative to denounce the violation of freedom of speech of Dr. Schneider and more generally I support Dr Schneider quest for honesty in science

    Philippe Froguel
    Imperial College London and CNRS University of Lille

    Liked by 1 person

  81. I fully support the opinion expressed by Rafael Cantera in the above open letter.

    Markus Ringnér, PhD
    Department of Biology
    Lund University, Sweden

    Liked by 1 person

  82. I am definitely supporting Leonid’s cause and work, the letter of Prof. Cantera, and freedom of press and investigative journalism.

    Philip Gröger, PhD student
    B CUBE – Center for Molecular Bioengineering
    Dresden, Germany

    Like

  83. I strongly support the open letter by Professor Cantera and the freedom of speech of Dr. Schneider.

    Carlos Rovira
    Division of Oncology-Pathology
    Lund University
    Sweden

    Liked by 1 person

  84. I fully support this letter.

    Dr Camille Le Chapelain
    Department of Chemistry, Chair of Biochemistry
    Technische Universität München
    Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  85. I support the opinion expressed by Rafael Cantera above, and Leonid Schneider’s continued investigation of trachea transplants in Germany. Freedom of speech must be protected and cared for.

    Jari Häkkinen, PhD
    Lund University
    Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund
    Division of Oncology and Pathology

    Liked by 1 person

  86. I am not familiar with the details of this case and I cannot comment on the merits of the various claims and counterclaims. However, I am concerned that the involvement of the courts is a disproportionate and heavy-handed response to the rather anodyne text in a blogpost. Whatever the merits of this case may be, involvement of the courts is bound to have a chilling effect on independent journalism. Professors Walles would have been far better off to post their detailed rebuttal, in English, on a website rather than making it public indirectly via a court judgement. I support Rafael Cantera’s letter.
    Professor Stephan Lewandowsky
    Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellow
    School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute
    University of Bristol
    12A Priory Road
    Bristol BS8 1TU
    United Kingdom
    Twitter: @STWorg

    Liked by 1 person

  87. We all like to read reports on scientific advances that have been made but critical writing by science journalists is equally important. Please, count me in.
    Prof. Dr. Joern Bullerdiek,
    Human Genetics,
    University of Bremen, Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  88. As scientists we have the obligation to know if scientific data made public are correct or not, consequently demanding the greatest effort of all involved parties, responsible scientists and their employers and employees, to give access to all the information. Only this type of openess and good disposition can guarantee that us, the scientific community, and the general public reach the right conclusions. Quite different from how this particular situation was handled in Sweeden, the German suspected parties do not seem to be reacting in an open and constructive way. Quite on the contrary, instead of contributing to help Leonid Schneider´s efforts to bring light into this most deplorable (pseudo) medical matter, his work is being endangered by most indign actions from the investigated scientists, with the shameful suppòrt of the University Clinic of Würzburg´s authorities. As scientist I cannot but fully support Dr. Schneider´s quest on this matter and hope that University Hospital German authorities correct their (corporative) course of action and facilitate this investigation.
    Carlos Dotti,
    Profesor de Investigación
    Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa,
    Madrid, Spain.

    Liked by 1 person

  89. I also support Rafael Cantera’s open letter above, and also the very important work of Leonid Schneider against research fraud and misconduct – upholding the virtues of scientific endeavour
    Ian Collinson PhD FRSB
    Professor of Biochemistry and Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator
    School of Biochemistry
    University Walk
    Bristol BS8 1TD
    UK

    Like

  90. I fully agree with the letter of Dr. Rafael Cantera in support of Leonid Schneider’s investigation of trachea transplants in Germany.

    Robert Castelo
    Associate Professor
    Dept. of Experimental and Health Sciences
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra
    Barcelona, Spain

    Liked by 1 person

  91. I fully support the contents of Prof. Cantera’s letter. Transparency in dealing with ethical issues in academic institutions will bring better science.

    Annalisa Berzigotti, MD, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Hepatology, UVCM
    University of Bern
    Switzerland

    Liked by 1 person

  92. I support this letter. When science is decided by the courts, we’re all in big trouble, even in a democracy.

    Nicholas Brown, MSc
    PhD candidate
    University of Groningen
    Netherlands

    Liked by 1 person

  93. I support the open letter.
    This quote from the eminent Pet Shop Boys sums it all:

    “If you’ve done nothing wrong
    You’ve got nothing to fear
    If you’ve something to hide
    You shouldn’t even be here”

    Dr Guillaume Rousselet – Senior Lecturer
    Institute of Neuroscience & Psychology
    University of Glasgow

    Liked by 1 person

  94. I think that all work done with participation of Macchiarini must be carefully investigated. I am impressed by the multiple investigations on all possible levels which took place in Sweden and surprized that German Universities have not made adequate effort to investigate Macchiarini’s work, work of his co-authors, all relevant operations made using similar methods. It looks like Leonid is doing this job instead of Universities and other official organizations in Germany. I am not specialist in this field but I strongly support efforts of Leonid who is trying to investigate this story. I support the letter by Prof. Cantera’s letter.

    Dr. Alexandr Talyzin
    Umeå University, Sweden

    Like

  95. I too fully support Professor Cantera’s letter.

    Didier Barradas Bautista, PhD candidate, Protein Interactions and Docking
    Life Sciences Department, Barcelona Supercomputing Center
    Barcelona, Spain.

    Liked by 1 person

  96. I support Prof. Cantera’s letter. There needs to be transparency when it comes to ethical issues and you cannot just sweep the truth under the carpet. Punishing journalists who repeat open statements seems therefore totally inappropriate.
    Prof Dr Melanie Blokesch,
    EPFL SV GHI UPBLO
    SV 3529 (Bâtiment SV)
    Station 19
    CH-1015 Lausanne
    Switzerland

    Liked by 1 person

  97. I support this letter.
    Dr Steven M. Pollard
    Cancer Research UK Senior Research Fellow
    MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine
    SCRM Building
    The University of Edinburgh
    Edinburgh bioQuarter
    5 Little France Drive
    Edinburgh
    UK

    Liked by 1 person

  98. I fully support this open letter, and am frankly amazed that the German Courts have taken the approach they have done.

    Professor Charles Oppenheim, BSc, PhD, DSc, Hon FCLIP, FRSA
    Visiting Professor at City University, London, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen and at The University of Northampton

    Liked by 1 person

  99. Hei Leonid,

    I am astonished by this kind of image manipulations in publications.. There should very tough consequences, or else the integrity of research will under question.

    Keep up the fight

    Dr. Prajwal

    Zürich

    Liked by 1 person

  100. “STAP” has sapped the fight out of me for science integrity. But here, I make the extra effort to strongly support Leonid’s investigation into Paola Macchiarini trachea transplantation misdeeds. I also strongly support Professor Cantera’s open letter.

    Professor Kenneth Lee
    Chief of Developmental and Regenerative Biology
    School of Biomedical Sciences
    Chinese University of Hong Kong

    Liked by 1 person

  101. While I recognize that I am not familiar with the German legal system, I feel that Schneider’s investigation on this issue has ended up in an unbalanced court decision. I may not share all Schneider’s opinions on other matters, but I support Prof. Cantera’s letter in relation to Schneider’s investigation.
    Prof. Dr. Crisanto Gutierrez
    Centro de Biologia Molecular Severo Ochoa
    Madrid, Spain

    Liked by 1 person

  102. It is extremely important that people be able to critically evaluate published data. I support the freedom of all scientists to participate in reasonable and rational post-publication peer review. The activity of the German courts described in this account is bizarre and certainly not in the public interest.

    I support Professor Cantera’s letter.

    Brian Hendrich
    University of Cambridge

    Liked by 1 person

  103. I fully support the letter of Prof Cantera. All the best for Leonid Schneider!
    Dr Julia von Blume,
    Independent Group Leader,
    Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry,
    Am Klopferspitz 18,
    82152 Martinsried, Germany

    Liked by 1 person

  104. I support the freedom of the press and see a strong need to fully clarify this case.
    Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Simon
    Entwicklungsgenetik
    Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
    Universitätsstraße 1
    40225 Düsseldorf, Germany

    Like

  105. I fully support Dr Schneider in his quest for freedom of speech, open truthful reporting of research findings and in ethical practice in science.
    Dr Paul A Hoskisson, Reader in Molecular Microbiology, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, University of Strathclyde, UK.

    Like

  106. I am no expert on German law, but to my understanding Dr. Schneider has, as he has done in other cases of scientific misconduct, reported the facts as he found them. The court order presented here seems disproportionate. I support the letter above.

    Dr. Remco Stam

    Research Group Leader
    Chair of Phytopathology
    Technical University Munich

    Like

  107. I stand behind Leonid Schneiders efforts to investigate and expose these frauds.

    It is laughable that he finds himself on the recieving end of corrupt justice for his service.

    Constantin Heil
    Fondazione Santa Lucia
    Rome

    Liked by 1 person

  108. I’d like to add my support to the sentiments of the open letter, to Leonid Schneider and his work towards greater transparency in scientific research.

    Wilf Gardner
    PhD Candidate
    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg/Université de Strasbourg

    Liked by 1 person

  109. Transparency will benefit all concerned. Much more clarity and information are need here.
    I support Leonid Schneider’s further investigation into this matter.

    Peter Shimon
    Consultant
    Toronto, Canada

    Liked by 1 person

  110. I strongly support the open letter of professor Cantera and I want to emphaze that the contribution of Leonid Schneider to the the scientific community is unvaluable.
    SIGNED: Dr. Olivier Bastien,
    Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
    Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire Végétale, France

    Liked by 1 person

  111. I stand with Cantera’s letter and support Schneider work against fraudulent research that is undermining public trust on Science and it is a form of public corruption.
    Alfredo Caro-Maldonado
    Marie Curie Fellow at CICbioGUNE institute.
    Spain

    Liked by 1 person

  112. I substantially disagree with the open letter. I do not believe that the court trial in Bavaria was plotted against Leonid Schneider, intending to punish him for his investigations. However, I am surprised that legal means are taken against Leonid Schneider for apparently pointing out previous reports by Bernhard Albrecht.
    Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kleine-Vehn
    Institute of Applied Genetics and Cell Biology (IAGZ)
    Muthgasse 18
    1190 Wien

    Liked by 1 person

  113. Journalism and well founded criticism are a social need that must be protected, not attacked in court.
    All my solidarity with Leonid Schneider, for a better science.

    Santi RELLO VARONA, PhD in Cell Biology
    IDIBELL
    Spain

    Liked by 1 person

  114. Support from my side for brave Leonid and his work!

    Dr. Christian Q. Scheckhuber
    Principal investigator
    CINVESTAV Monterrey
    Vía del Conocimiento 201
    Parque de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica
    Código Postal 66600
    Apodaca NL
    Mexico

    Liked by 1 person

  115. I fully support Leonid’s work and the open letter.
    Archana Varadaraj, PhD
    Assistant Professor,
    Northern Arizona University, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
    USA

    Liked by 1 person

  116. Although court injunctions are a lawful instrument, I think that they can be misused too easily. In this case they certainly have been and it is used to harass someone practices internet journalism. Apparently they feel threatened by this, which is surprising, since the two people, the Walleses, are in a position of much greater power than a journalist reporting on scientific misconduct. I thus think this is a blatant misuse of power and should stop
    Kasper van Gelderen,
    Post-Doc,
    Utrecht University

    Liked by 1 person

  117. I support the freedom of the press and open science

    William Barendse
    Honorary Professor
    School of Veterinary Science
    University of Queensland
    Australia

    Liked by 1 person

  118. I fully support the open letter of professor Cantera.

    Stefano Giaimo
    postdoc at MPI for Evolutionary Biology
    Plön, Germany

    Like

  119. I wish to add my name to Professor Rafael Cantera’s letter in support of Leonid Schneider’s investigative reporting concerning trachea transplants conducted in Germany and elsewhere. These experimental procedures — and the many ethical, legal, and scientific issues they raise — need to be subjected to careful and critical scrutiny and public debate. Silencing or attempting to silence investigators and critics does not serve the public interest.

    I am an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota. I write as an individual faculty member and not on behalf of my academic institution.

    Yours sincerely,

    Leigh Turner, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor
    University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics

    Liked by 1 person

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