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AIDS Researcher Retracts Findings From Proteomics Study in Science; Blames Sample Contamination

This story has been updated from a previous version.


NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (GenomeWeb News) - HIV researcher David Ho published a letter in today's issue of Science retracting some of the results of a 2002 paper describing the use of proteomics techniques to find and identify anti-HIV factors.


Ho, who used Ciphergen's ProteinChip and SELDI platforms in the study but did not identify the technology as the source of the error, said that although the factors identified were real, the sources of the identified proteins were not the CD8 cells, as he reported in the Nov. 1, 2002 paper . Instead, they were contaminating neutrophils that he had used to stimulate the cells before analyzing their proteins. The neutrophils are already known to contain the identified proteins.


"We were pursuing this honestly and came up with new information which clarifies our work and the muddy areas in the field," Ho told the Wall Street Journal in an interview yesterday.


Rebecca Caffrey, Ciphergen's business development manager and an author on the original paper, commented to GenomeWeb News that the problem resulted from findings obtained using flow cytometry and an imaging system. "[T]he findings made by Ciphergen's ProteinChip system were not retracted," she wrote in an e-mail. "The sample contamination resulted from neutrophils, which are commonly used by immunologists to activate T-cells, and not by our technology."


Ciphergen has in the past pointed to Ho's paper as a good example of how their technology can be applied to the study of HIV (see ProteoMonitor, 9-26-03 ).


The original paper was jointly published by researchers from Ho's AaronDiamondAIDSResearchCenterat RockefellerUniversityin New York, and by researchers from Ciphergen. The retraction was authored only by the Aaron Diamond researchers.


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