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Nature 483, 531 - 533 (7391)
Published online: 2012-03-29; | doi:10.1038/483531a

Article: Drug development: Raise standards for preclinical cancer research

  1. #41029
    Date:
    2012-04-06 12:45:16 PM
    Marcelo Behar said:

    At first I thought this was an April Fool's joke: an article complaining about non-reproducible results and poor publishing practices that did not show the data underlying their own "results". I laughed at loud at the claim "The scientific community assumes that the claims in a preclinical study can be taken at face value"... thought it was pretty hilarious.

    But I am not so sure this is a prank... so just in case here are my 2 cents.

    I will not deny that cherry-picked results, poor controls, inadequate number of repeats, non-publishable negative results, or bad experimental habits in general are real problems in all scientific disciplines including biomedical research. However, this article is just sensationalism at it worst: making over-generalizing, grandiose claims without providing any supporting evidence. Which specific articles were picked, what criteria was used to categorize something as a Landmark finding, how were the claims tested, what reproducibility criteria were used, etc... speaking of cherry picked results, lack of controls, and poor publishing standards!

    I am not familiar with the internal decision-making process in big pharma but if this article is serious, perhaps they should consider hiring scientists from a community that does not "assumes that the claims in a preclinical study can be taken at face value". Leaving aside dishonest data manipulation, problems arising from incomplete data, bad controls, poor practices, or limited applicability of the results are usually evident from a critical review of the protocols/methods.

    Cheers

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