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Transplant scandal linked to "improper" recruitment

Wednesday September 7th, 2016

An unfolding scandal over a leading transplant surgeon has enveloped Sweden's major medical university - and the Nobel Prize award committee.

The latest of a series of investigations into the work of throat transplant specialist Professor Paolo Macchiarini was unveiled yesterday - stating that he had been "improperly" recruited to the Karolinska Institutet.

Professor Macchiarini pioneered tracheal transplants, using laboratory grown tissue, and in his last published work - in 2014 - announced progress in growing human oesophageal tissue.

But questions have been raised about his clinical practice and laboratory research - together with the CV he submitted when appointed to the Karolinska Institutet.

He is under investigation on allegations of involuntary manslaughter over the deaths of patients in 2011 and 2012.

His contract at the Karolinska Institutet was rescinded in April. Earlier the Swedish government replaced the board of the Karolinska Institutet - leading to two board members being removed from the panel of Nobel judges.

Last year an internal investigation exonerated the professor from charges laid by four doctors who worked with him at the Karolinska University Hospital. It concluded he had "merely been careless."

The report published yesterday by a committee led by a senior judge said that his recruitment and the extension of his contracts were pushed through "improperly." And it criticises the investigation into allegations of scientific misconduct.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Karin Dahlman-Wright said: “This is a case in which a long chain of poor and absent decisions enabled a visiting professor to contravene the rules and ethical principles that apply to KI’s activities."

* This year's Nobel Prize for Medicine is due to be announced on 3 October.

Tags: Europe | Respiratory | Transplant

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