News in Brief
A preliminary report from scientists at the biotech company Amgen Inc. questions a cancer drug’s ability to fight Alzheimer’s disease. In experiments described February 4 in F1000Research, bexarotene, a drug approved by the FDA to treat lymphoma, didn’t reduce levels of the Alzheimer’s-related amyloid-beta protein.
In the original work, described in Science in 2012 (SN: 3/10/12, p. 5),...
Around half of all preclinical research in the United States is not reproducible (SN: 1/24/15, p. 20). That failure comes with a hefty annual price tag: about $28.2 billion, concludes a review of data on irreproducibility published in the June 9 PLOS Biology.
Leonard Freedman of the Global Biological Standards Institute in Washington, D.C., and colleagues grouped the root causes of lack...
In my quest to explore the unknown frontier inside my own body, I stumbled upon one of the most intractable problems facing science.
The issue, irreplicable results, is a dark cloud looming over the life and social sciences. My encounter began when I sent identical stool samples to two microbiome sequencing services (SN Online: 6/17/14). The microbiome is the...
For more on reproducibility in science, see SN's feature "Is redoing scientific research the best way to find truth?"
Barriers to research replication are based largely in a scientific culture that pits researchers against each other in competition for scarce resources. Any or all of the factors below, plus others, may combine to skew results.Pressure to publish
Research funds are...
R. Allan Mufson remembers the alarming letters from physicians. They were testing a drug intended to help cancer patients by boosting levels of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in their blood.
In animal studies and early clinical trials, the drug known as Epo (for erythropoietin) appeared to counteract anemia caused by radiation and chemotherapy. It had the potential to spare patients from the...