The misconduct-tainted paper on oesophagus transplants in rats (Sjöqvist et al 2014) by the fallen star of regenerative medicine Paolo Macchiarini is finally retracted by the journal Nature Communications. This happens after Swedish investigations found the authors (primarily the scandal thorax surgeon and his right-hand man Philipp Jungebluth) guilty of data manipulation and research misconduct in September 2016 and after the Karolinska Institutet (KI) shortly before Christmas publicly demanded a retraction (see my report here). Today’s retraction is a major setback for Macchiarini, since his current employment and funding at the Federal University of Kazan (KFU) in Russia depend on his experiments with oesophageal transplants in primates (see my reports here and here). That Russian project was in turn only possible because of Macchiarini’s allegedly successful experiments in rats, published in a prestige journal with “Nature” in its title. This paper’s retraction is therefore probably only the beginning of a whole looming avalanche of bad news for Macchiarini and his acolyte Jungebluth (who currently sues me in court). An expert review of their publication Jungebluth et al 2015 declares the findings of misconduct, ethics breach and patient abuse. The report however has yet to be confirmed by a commission at the Swedish Central Ethics Review Board (CEPN) and then formulated as an official decree by the KI. I publish the expert reviewer report below. Continue reading “Retraction, and another looming misconduct finding for Macchiarini and Jungebluth”
The trachea transplant doctor and acolyte of Paolo Macchiarini, Philipp Jungebluth, followed up on his previous legal threat to me and used his star lawyer to issue an injunction against me by a court in Berlin. The plaintiffs even declared to have started their legal action following a similar move against me by other former collaborators of the scandal surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, Heike and Thorsten Walles. Here, however, Macchiarini and Jungebluth are proclaimed being “renowned in Germany and world-wide”, no, not how you know them from the more recent Swedish and also British media. Jungebluth is portrayed as an excellent, most-sought for, doctor and top scientist whose only career dent came from what I wrote about him on my site. Once again, I was not invited or informed of the trial, and sentenced never again to assume that Jungebluth might have left his research surgeon employment with the University Clinic of Heidelberg in any other way but entirely of his own accord. The usual threat: €250,000 fine or 6 months in prison.
The lawyer didn’t really have to bother claiming any urgency to have this injunction passed, since Jungebluth is happily employed as junior doctor at a small communal hospital outside Braunschweig, in northern Germany. It sufficed to assert that he felt bothered by my reporting after no less than 35 colleagues asked him about it, and the other side of story became immediately irrelevant for now. Once again, German justice created legal facts out of accusations, without allowing the accused to bring any evidence to defend himself. The alleged eminence of Dr. Jungebluth, scientist and physician, made all evidence obsolete. Except that to all those who ever followed the Macchiarini scandal, the young doctor is not as renowned and respected as the court trusted his lawyer. Conveniently though, in Germany this media reporting never really happened. Continue reading “Jungebluth achieves court injunction against me, because he published in The Lancet”
On December 22nd, I received some Christmas mail. It was a letter from a famous media lawyer, Prof. Dr. Jan Hegemann, recruited by Philipp Jungebluth to deal with my unwelcome reporting. This is the third time a German clinician set lawyers upon me (here and here are the previous two), and the second time it is about trachea transplants. This lawyer, whose offices are at Potsdamer Platz at the business heart of Berlin and who represented the biggest stars of German media landscape, is certainly not cheap.
Jungebluth was the closest assistant of the scandal surgeon of Paolo Macchiarini, many of their trachea transplant patients have died. Through his lawyer, Jungebluth (who is an unfinished surgeon) denied any responsibility for any of these operations, insisting against a huge mountain of evidence that he was solely contributing academically, as a scientist. The lawyer also insists that Jungebluth’s medical dissertation, completed under Macchiarini’s supervision at the Medical University Hannover (MHH) in Germany, was equivalent to a PhD degree and that his employer Karolinska Institutet (KI) officially recognized this (for some reason, same lawyer apparently deems my own PhD degree as null and void). Interestingly, the lawyer did not deny my earlier report that his client’s dissertation is being investigated by the MHH right now, which may result in the revocation of Jungebluth’s medical doctorate and of all its alleged equivalences.
The lawyer’s main assertion is that his client quit his job at the University Clinic Heidelberg utterly voluntarily, thus abandoning all his research and training as thorax surgeon, to become a junior doctor at some provincial communal hospital near Hannover. Yet the loss of his job in research was what Jungebluth actually profusely lamented just now in an interview with Swedish newspaper.
The following article provoked a response by Philipp Jungebluth’s lawyer, presented here. A sentence was changed following a court injunction against me, passed in my absence on 24.01.2017, declaring that he left his job entirely voluntarily.
The German surgeon-apprentice Philipp Jungebluth was student, most loyal acolyte and trusted right-hand man of the disgraced stem cell researcher Paolo Macchiarini. Jungebluth was part of most if not all trachea transplants performed by Macchiarini on their unlucky patients. Some new information I uncovered (despite best attempts at obfuscation) suggests that Jungebluth was recruited to the University Clinic Heidelberg from Sweden to develop a transplant technology of stem-cell regenerated 3D-printed plastic tracheas. The young surgeon-in-training and his Heidelberg host Hendrik Dienemann progressed to the stage of animal experiments, before Jungebluth left his position in Heidelberg to work a small communal clinic near Hannover.
The young German doctor started to work with trachea transplants in human patients under his mentor Macchiarini in Barcelona, in 2008. During this project, Jungebluth was part of the team which had been “regenerating” a cadaveric trachea (a section of a bronchus, precisely) with stem cell magic inside a veterinary lab of the University of Bristol, before the final product was flown to Barcelona and transplanted into Macchiarini’s young patient, Claudia Castillo. Not only were the British medical safety authorities not asked for permission, they were actually actively misled, as my earlier investigation revealed. The University of Bristol however simply declared all lab documentation as non-existent and sneakily deleted some press releases which contained uncomfortable information.
The following article provoked a response by Philipp Jungebluth’s lawyer, presented here. The title was changed following a court injunction against me, passed in my absence on 24.01.2017, declaring that he left his job entirely voluntarily.
In the wake of the scandal around the fallen star surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, his German acolyte Philipp Jungebluth now left his job as resident/junior doctor (Assistenzarzt) in Heidelberg in the Thoraxklinik at Heidelberg University Hospital.
This is what Kirsten Gerlach, assistant to the clinic director, told me today:
“Dr. Jungebluth is no longer employed at the Thoraxklinik, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg. He left the Klinikum at his own request“.
Update 13.09.2016: Gerlach now specified to me in another email:
“Dr. Jungebluth left the Thoraxklinik on 31. August 2016 at his own request”.
Jungebluth was Macchiarini’s award-winning medicine graduate at the Hannover Medical University (MHH), which had huge plans on regenerative medicine back then, with living tracheas, lungs and hearts growing inside plastic boxes. The loyal young graduate then followed his idol Macchiarini to Spain, Russia and Sweden, where he hands-on participated in their disastrous trachea transplantations. In a 2012 article in Deutschlandfunk, Jungebluth insinuated against better knowledge that “regenerated” plastic tracheas were first tested on mice and rats, before human subjects were tricked into sacriﬁcing their lives. Yet there was no advance animal testing, as Macchiarini eventually admitted it.
The trachea-transplant “super- surgeon” Paolo Macchiarini seems to be sitting out the Swedish investigations of his misconduct and patients’ deaths in Russia. He is apparently still employed at the International Research, Clinical and Education Center of Regenerative Medicine in Krasnodar, a city in south-western Russia, just across the recently occupied Ukrainian Crimea peninsula. While Macchiarini’s Krasnodar colleague Elena Gubareva eagerly boasted to a Russian newspaper journalist about their success in creating stem-cell derived artificial diaphragm and plans to grow an artificial heart, the foreign star scientist hid in his office until the journalist left.
In the following article I will give an update on Macchiarini’s colleagues in Russia and primarily focus on two German doctors and close associates of the Italian surgeon (who, having grown up in Switzerland, speaks perfect German). Macchiarini met both these friends of his at the Medical University Hannover (MHH), where he joined in 2004 and had been developing the artificial trachea with the funding from the DFG. His collaborator at MHH was the surgeon Augustinus Bader, now stem cell professor at the University of Leipzig. Philipp Jungebluth was Macchiarini’s award-winning medicine graduate at MHH. The young German doctor followed his idol to Barcelona, Sweden and Russia and directly participated in all Macchiarini’s disastrous trachea transplantations. Continue reading “Macchiarini’s German (ex-)friends: Jungebluth and Bader”