The stem cell trachea scandal

Over the last couple of years I have followed Leonid Schneider‘s dedicated and forensic reporting of the Macchiarini trachea implant scandal (which has taken its toll on Leonid through legal threats and court costs) but had not realised that my colleague and collaborator, Raphael Levy (University of Liverpool) was also embroiled in this tragic case. That was until the following blog post appeared in my e-mail inbox a couple of days ago…

Raphael’s commitment to uncovering scientific misconduct, in this case alongside his colleague Prof Patricia Murray in the Institute of Translational Medicine at Liverpool, continues to inspire. I hope that Shauna Davidson‘s family get the answers they deserve very soon. It is very disappointing, to put it mildly, that, as Raphael describes below, the Medical Research Council (MRC) has been less than entirely open with its responses.


Yesterday night, BBC Newsnight broadcasted an investigation by journalist Deborah Cohen featuring interviews with my colleague Prof Patricia Murray as well as extremely moving testimony by the mum of Shauna Davidson. Shauna’s mum had been misled on the nature of the intervention on her daughter and even on the cause of her death.

Patricia is a stem cell expert and we’ve hada longterm (and ongoing) collaboration on using imaging to track stem cells for evaluation of their safety and efficacy. When, a few years ago, she started to get interested in the Macchiarini scandal and realised that similar experiments on patients had been done in the UK (and continued to be done), she contacted me knowing my interest in ethical issues and scientific misconduct. I am proud to have supported her sterling work in uncovering this scandal – I am also pleased that legal threats have…

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