Japanese stem cell researcher Dr. Haruko Obokata has been decidedly plunged into an unwanted spotlight, allegedly fabricating research results of a stem cell process that could potentially revolutionize treatment for some diseases. Under this stressful situation, Obokata has been hospitalized because her “mental and physical condition is unstable”, this according to her lawyers.
With this situation in mind, her lawyers have appealed to the Japanese media to be “considerate” of her situation when she faces them in a news conference on Wednesday. Last week, the world-renowned Riken Institute of Japan had announced that the results of Dr. Obokata’s research had been intentionally fabricated and contained basic errors. Riken had earlier withdrawn its support for the research when these allegations surfaced. Obokata had rejected Riken’s conclusion, saying that if there were errors, they were made without ill intent. Obokata is planning to appeal the findings, the reason for the news conference on Wednesday.
“Haruko Obokata plans to file an appeal tomorrow against the final report issued by Riken’s investigative committee,” said a statement by her lawyers. “However, Haruko Obokata has been hospitalized today because her mental and physical condition is unstable,” the statement further revealed. It appealed to reporters who would attend the Wednesday news to “be considerate of her mental and physical state.” The statement came out signed by the lawyers representing Obokata, and was also made public on the day Riken held a news conference where its officials said that they are in the process of verifying if the new type of stem cells Dr. Obokata said she discovered – called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP cells – really do exist.
[via Wall Street Journal]