News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Two Swedish Nobel prize judges fired in medical scandal-Reuters, BBC

Image caption: "Sweden's Queen Silvia, India's President Pranab Mukherjee, Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Professor Anders Hamsten, president of the Karolinska Institute, during a visit to the Nobel Forum, Stockholm, Sweden, June 2, 2015. Hamsten is one of two Noble Prize judges to have been fired.Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency/Reuters"

9/6/16, "Nobel Prize Judges Fired in Paolo Macchiarini Medical Scandal," Reuters via Newsweek

"The assembly that awards the Nobel Prize for medicine will demand the resignation of two of its judges as a result of a scandal around a surgeon accused of scientific negligence, local news agency TT said Tuesday.

Anders Hamsten had previously resigned from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet over the employment of stem-cell surgeon Paulo Macchiarini. Harriet Wallberg, who headed the university when Macchiarini was hired, was fired from her current job as head of the Swedish Higher Education Authority on Monday.

Macchiarini, who denies any wrongdoing, faces numerous accusations of scientific fraud and misconduct resulting in the death of two patients. Swedish prosecutors are investigating Macchiarini on suspicion of gross criminal negligence.

TT quoted Assembly secretary Thomas Perlmann as saying he would ask them to resign from the 50-member body, which will next award the prize for medicine in October. The Assembly had no further comment to make.

Macchiarini was employed as a researcher into stem cell biology at the Karolinska Institutet and consultant at Karolinska University Hospital in 2010.

Macchiarini was fired in March when the institute said he had supplied false information on his resume and was guilty of scientific negligence after two of his patients died.

An investigation last week showed three operations conducted at the Karolinska University Hospital in which Macchiarini transplanted synthetic tracheas coated with stem cells were performed before sufficient study had been done on the procedure and that the operations could not be justified on the grounds of being life-saving.

Karolinska Institutet's Nobel Assembly consists of 50 professors and decides who is to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Much of the work is done by the Nobel Committee that is appointed by the Assembly."


BBC article on this topic:

9/6/16, "Swedish Nobel judges fired in Karolinska medical scandal," BBC 

"Two judges have been asked to leave a panel that picks the Nobel prize for medicine in a scandal surrounding a disgraced Italian transplant surgeon.

The decision to drop Harriet Wallberg and Anders Hamsten came after the Swedish government sacked the entire board of the prestigious Karolinska Institute, where the scientist worked. Paolo Macchiarini was seen as a leading specialist on windpipe transplants.

But two of his patients died and he was accused of falsifying his work record.

Dr Macchiarini denies all the charges against him.

The two judges who lost their positions on the Nobel panel have both served as heads of the Karolinska Institute, and were among several individuals suspected of ignoring warnings about the Italian windpipe scientist. 

The case has come as a severe blow to the institute. In a report on the case on Monday, a former Swedish judge said he had "never seen such negative references" and questioned why the surgeon had been initially hired and then had his contract extended.

"Confidence in the two principals is so seriously damaged that it has been exhausted," assembly secretary Thomas Perlmann told Sweden's TT news agency. 

"The damage is so great, and of such a character, that we will ask them to resign from the Nobel Assembly."

The 50-member Nobel panel is due to announce the winner of the annual prize next month.

"Scandal is the right word," higher education minister Helene Hellmark Knutsson said on Monday. 

"People have been harmed because of the actions of the Karolinska Institute and also the Karolinska University Hospital."

Paolo Macchiarini was hired in 2010, two years after he was part of a team that carried out the first windpipe transplant partly made of the patient's stem cells. In 2011 he was hailed for leading a team that carried out the first synthetic organ transplant.

But he lost his job earlier this year after a TV documentary by Swedish broadcaster SVT showed footage of operations he carried out in Russia which the Karolinska Institute itself described as "truly alarming"

Prosecutors in Sweden said in June they were investigating the stem cell surgeon on suspicion of two cases of involuntary manslaughter at Swedish hospitals in 2011 and 2012.

Other reports have alleged that he gave false information on his resume."


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