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Prominent Indian-American researcher under probe

He is under scanner for alleged falsification in publications regarding cancer fighting properties of plants.

News18test sharma |

Updated:February 25, 2012, 4:52 PM IST
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Prominent Indian-American researcher under probe
He is under scanner for alleged falsification in publications regarding cancer fighting properties of plants.
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Houston: A prominent Indian-American researcher at University of Texas is under scanner for alleged falsification and fabrication in various publications regarding cancer fighting properties of plants.

According to the University's M D Anderson Cancer Center officials, Dr Bharat B Aggarwal's studies are being reviewed following federal notification alleging fraud by academic whistle-blowers in what has grown to 65 published papers, one of which has been retracted by the journal that published it.

Dr Ray DuBois, provost M D Anderson said federal guidelines preclude the centre from providing details about the review, now several weeks old.

He said he hoped it could be finished in a few weeks.

Aggarwal's highly influential research into the supposed anti-cancer mechanisms of plant-derived chemicals, particularly curcumin, has laid the groundwork for ongoing clinical trials.

One concerning curcumin's anti-cancer properties has been cited by academic researchers in 700 subsequent journal articles, according to Retraction Watch, which has blogged about the matter.

The US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Research Integrity (ORI), the government watchdog organisation for federally funded research, would not confirm whether it is overseeing the matter.

DuBois confirmed it was the ORI that notified the Centre about the fraud allegations. Aggarwal was not available for comment.

However, when contacted by Retraction Watch by phone at his office, Aggarwal said M D Anderson has been looking into it and they will tell everybody what it is all about.

I think that somebody out there is putting this whole thing together and their mind is made up, he was quoted as saying.

However, Aggarwal, chief of the center's cytokine research section, denied that any retractions of his papers were forthcoming.

He refused to comment on whether officials had confiscated his computer, as a commenter to a blog claimed.

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