Significant questions about research misconduct have been raised about a prominent Japanese cardiovascular researcher, Issei Komuro.
Last year a Nature paper on which Komuro served as a co-author was corrected because “several images were mistakenly switched or duplicated during preparation of the artwork.” The Nature correction states that the “corrections do not alter any of the conclusions” of the paper. Now, however, a Japanese blog, entitled Issei Komuro – image manipulation -, raises questions about 13 additional papers. The papers were all published in well-known journals, including a secondNature paper, Nature Medicine, and 4 separate papers in Circulation. On many of the papers Komuro served as the senior author.
The accusation against Komuro in a blog is strongly reminiscent of the scandal involving Hiroaki Matsubara, another prominent researcher who recently resigned from his position after numerous retractions and investigations. That case also began with a similar anonymous blog post that contained numerous examples of apparent image manipulation.
Both Matsubara and Komuro, it should be noted, worked on valsartan (Diovan) trials sponsored by Novartis . Matsubara was also a co-author with Komuro on two of the papers– the Nature Medicine paper and one of the Circulation papers– now under suspicion.
Kormuro’s research explores “the molecular mechanisms underlying mutual regulation between cardiovascular cells and the immune system including mast cells and T lymphocytes and advance translational research.” He is also the senior author of the Valsartan Amlodipine Randomized Trial (VART), sponsored by Novartis. Komuro appears to hold a number of titles, including Visiting Professor and Chairman‚ Graduate School of Medicine‚ Chiba University, Chiba, Japan; Professor‚ Graduate School of Medicine‚ Osaka University, Osaka, Japan; Professor‚ Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.