August 17, 2016
Professor Thorsten Hagemann was considered one of the world’s leading pancreatic cancer specialists. He studied medicine in Germany, and earned an MD/PhD with a thesis in oncology in 1999. His resume is filled with impressive experience over the 15 years that followed, including being a Professor for Pancreatic Cancer Medicine at Queen Mary’s University London, as well as St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in the UK. Last fall, he was appointed Medical Director of the London biopharmaceutical firm Immodulon Therapeutics.
However, it turns out that much of his success has been based on fraud. The doctor has now been banned from practicing medicine, after being caught fabricating data in order to convince charities to fund his research.
A number of transgressions have been uncovered which took place throughout his career. He lied about the results of cancer trials, and fudged the numbers to apply for funds from Cancer Research and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. He managed to gain £180,000 from the latter for a project called “Defining the role of regulatory B cells in pancreatic cancer.”
He also inflated figures in an article that was published by the Nature scientific journal. Another paper he submitted to Nature Medicine also contained false data, but was ultimately rejected. The fraudulent data was also used in a presentation he made to Cancer Research Technology.
Adding insult to injury, he lied to his colleagues who worked on the trials with him, even going so far as to edit emails to cover his tracks when they voiced suspicions.
Medical license revoked
A panel has now declared him unfit to practice medicine, and he was been removed from the medical register for “gross and clear fabrication of research data.” He was found guilty of 24 different instances of dishonest and misleading conduct between the years 2012 and 2014. He did not attend his hearing in the UK, and is believed to have left the country.
Most scientific journals publish misleading or false studies
While this is very alarming, and the potential danger that misleading studies can cause the public is hard to quantify, it’s not an isolated incident by any means. In fact, the Editor-in-Chief of one of the world’s premier medical journals, The Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton, has gone on the record as stating that as much as half of all scientific literature published is unreliable at best, and completely false at worst.
The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.
The former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell, echoed his sentiments, saying that clinical trials are designed in a way that makes them yield favorable results for their sponsors. She derided the influence that the pharmaceutical industry has on scientific research.
Unfortunately, the only research that can be trusted these days is studies in publications that are free from corporate fraud, like the Natural Science Journal. Very few mainstream science journals fall into this category, as the influence of biotech and pharmaceutical interests is rampant. This type of fraud gives honest scientists a bad name, so it’s surprising that more of them are not speaking out against this huge problem, which has ramifications for all of human life.