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Nobel jurors urged to quit over scandal

AAP logoAAP 6/09/2016

Two jurors who select the winners of the Nobel medicine prize have been asked to resign by fellow members of the 50-strong panel over their failure to act on allegations of medical misconduct.

Harriet Wallberg and Anders Hamsten were vice-chancellors of a medical research institute in Stockholm that was implicated in an external review published on Monday.

During their time at the Karolinska Institutet, from which Nobel Assembly members are selected, Wallberg and Hamsten were said to have recruited and collaborated with Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, whose medical practices have since led to a probe into involuntary manslaughter.

Macchiarini pioneered organ transplants using a windpipe created with the patient's own stem cells. However his methods and research came into question after the deaths of two patients who underwent his windpipe procedure.

Nobel Assembly secretary Thomas Perlmann told Swedish Radio that the recommendations to Wallberg and Hamsten were based on the external review's findings that they had failed to take action when concerns about Macchiarini's practices emerged.

Perlmann said the two had not taken part in deliberations for this year's Nobel prize for medicine, to be announced early in October.

Several researchers at the Karolinska Institutet had previously questioned some of Macchiarini's studies in 2014, resulting in a review of his scientific papers that were found to lack scientific quality.

Macchiarini stands by his research.

Earlier this year, parts of his resume were also questioned, leading to his dismissal from the research institute.

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