Harvard denies authorizing studies by Japanese researcher claiming breakthrough in stem cell technology

Tokyo, Oct. 13: Harvard University has confirmed that neither it nor Massachusetts General Hospital has authorized any iPS-related clinical studies by Hisashi Moriguchi, a researcher at University of Tokyo Hospital, who claims to have achieved the first clinical application using the revolutionary stem cell technology.

“No clinical trials related to Moriguchi’s work have been approved by institutional review boards at either Harvard University or Massachusetts General Hospital,” the Japan Time quoted Harvard and related institutes, as saying in a statement.

According to the report, the statement confirmed that Moriguchi “was a visiting fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1999-2000,” but added that he “has not been associated with (the institution) or Harvard since that time.”

Moriguchi’s claim came just after Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and a British scholar, John Gurdon, were jointly awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their research on iPS cells, the report said.

“I have been told my method of creating iPS cells is different from the one used by Yamanaka (and Gurdon), but I have been doing it my way and no problems have been identified after transplants,” he said.

Moriguchi, who is thought to have asked a heart surgeon to carry out cell transplants, unveiled details about the treatment at a meeting of annual stem-cell research conference at Rockefeller University in New York held Wednesday and Thursday, the report said.

But the event’s organizer, the nonprofit New York Stem Cell Foundation, subsequently said it “has received information from Harvard University that raises legitimate questions concerning a poster presentation” by Moriguchi, and has withdrawn it from the conference, it added. (ANI)