After coming out with a controversial document on the stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency cells in a news conference at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology last Jan. 28, the Riken Institute withdrew its findings. The retraction followed a statement by the pioneering scientist of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that comparing the two subverts developments in iPS research.
The research likened methods of producing and cell generation of STAP cells with iPS cells, with the latter having an engineering efficiency of just 0.1 percent or even less. But the number dates back to 2006 when Kyoto University Preofessor Shinya Yamanaka discovered a way to produce iPS cells from mice, and recent developments and tests have already increased the number to more than 20 percent. Yamanaka said the comparison is deceiving.
The document also recorded STAP cell generation efficiency at 30 percent, while leaving out the percentage of cells that died during the process. Efficiency was measured from the number of cells that survive an acid bath that researches use to transform somatic cells into STAP cells. Inconsistencies in the imaging data of the STAP cells research, among others, cast doubt on the findings. A public relations official from Riken has since expressed regret after retracting the document. “We deeply apologize to all those concerned,” the official said.