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Not So Fast: Oct 15, 2012

Claims made by Hisashi Moriguchi — a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo — about using modified stem cells to successfully treat a patient with terminal heart failure could be false, reports Nature News.

According to the article, Moriguchi says he had invented a method of reprogramming induced pluripotent stem cells using two chemicals. He also claimed that the iPS cells could be differentiated using a "supercooling method" that he invented.

His method was supposedly used to treat a patient who, eight months after treatment, was healthy .

However, Hiromitsu Nakauchi, a stem-cell researcher at the University of Tokyo, tells Nature that he'd "never heard of success" using Moriguchi's chemical method, nor was he impressed by the supposed supercooling technique for differentiating cells.

Furthermore, Moriguchi's article on his work was found to include paragraphs that copied almost verbatim from other papers, Nature says.

Moriguchi also claimed to have a laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. It turns out that he was a visiting fellow at MGH from1999 to 2000, but he has not been associated with the hospital or the medical school since then, according to Nature .

Moriguchi defends his work, citing a previous paper he wrote on his supercooling method, and says that "he did most of the contentious work himself, including safety research in pigs, the initial surgery and some of a further five similar procedures in other patients that took place from August onwards," the article says.

Nature's piece was published during the same week that Moriguchi presented his work at a meeting of the New York Stem Cell Foundation.

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