09:00 AM

Professor resigns after research misconduct investigation

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University announced today that Ching-Shih Chen is no longer employed at Ohio State after a university investigation determined that he intentionally committed research misconduct.

The investigation began after allegations of possible research misconduct were forwarded to the university and to the federal Office of Research Integrity asserting that image manipulations existed in a number of published articles on which Chen, formerly a professor of medicinal chemistry, was an author.

Following a thorough review, the university found that Chen committed research misconduct related to figures in eight journal articles and planned to terminate his employment as a result. Chen, after admitting that he had intentionally falsified data, resigned in September.

Following the investigation, the university is requiring retraction of the eight articles containing falsified data. Ohio State’s investigative report and associated records are available online here.

In 2008, New Jersey-based drug developer Arno Therapeutics Inc. was granted exclusive rights to test anti-cancer small-molecule agents developed by Chen and take them to market. Limited elements of the falsified data were related to basic research done with two compounds developed by Chen and licensed to Arno Therapeutics.

Upon identification of a possible problem with the data supporting the Arno licensed compounds, and out of an abundance of caution, Ohio State immediately suspended all patient recruitment and treatment with the Arno compound currently in clinical trials until the Institutional Review Board that oversees human subjects research could determine whether the research misconduct had any impact on the safety or efficacy of those compounds.

In addition to review by the Institutional Review Board, Ohio State also hired an external consultant who validated that Chen’s research misconduct did not affect the Arno licensed compounds developed in his lab. Patient safety was never compromised. (This report is contained in the online documents.)

“Ohio State takes all allegations of research misconduct seriously and we are committed to exceeding the federal standards for research integrity,” said Gates Garrity-Rokous, vice president of compliance. “While our policies have been clear in the past, we have substantially increased the funding that supports oversight of our research enterprise. Our goal as a university is to be the best in class for both innovation and research integrity.”

The university has transferred responsibility for Chen’s active grants to other research experts in the colleges of pharmacy and medicine. Ohio State has disclosed Chen’s investigation to appropriate federal authorities and is in the process of issuing retraction requests or corrections as needed for all affected manuscripts.