The 2008 Lancet paper of Paolo Macchiarini and Martin Birchall about the world first trachea transplant might end up retracted. Until recently, the journal’s editor Richard Horton used to ignore and suppress “non peer-reviewed” evidence, but due to combined pressure of activism, media and politics, things started to move.
A decision was announced by the Swedish Prosecution Authority in Gothenburg on the Paolo Macchiarini case today. The issue are plastic trachea transplants the scandal surgeon performed at the hospital of the Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm, Sweden. The earlier decision by state prosecutor was changed in part and the preliminary investigation will be reopened
Paediatric surgeon Paolo De Coppi claims to grow all possible internal organs in his lab at UCL. Though his career started with his association with Macchiarini, and their regenerative medicine ideas sound strangely similar, De Coppi is celebrated as a modest genius poised to save lives of uncounted children, and the funding money flows.
In September 2010, trachea transplant surgeon Paolo Macchiarini was basically at the end of his career of fraud and patient abuse, unwanted by everyone. Except by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, which pushed the recruitment process through in just 3 weeks, despite warnings from colleagues in Florence, Barcelona and Hannover not to employ someone who was basically a lying psychopath. Yet Karolinska leadership was desperate for some positive reviews for Macchiarini. They finally got them from London, from UCL and GOSH.
The Paolo Macchiarini investigation was initiated in 2016 by the interim Karolinska Rector Karin Dahlman-Wright, finalised this year by the newly installed Ole Petter Ottersen. The irony is that several Dahlman-Wright papers were now scrutinised data integrity sleuths with the result that one wonders if Dahlman-Wright was the right person to supervise any research misconduct investigations. Also Ottersen himself might be tainted: he is co-author on an old paper with image duplication.