This week, during a press conference, the Scientific Committee heading the enquiry into the RIKEN Institute (Kobe, Japan) announced the results of its final report investigating STAP cells (Gènéthique press review on March, 24th, 2014). It denounced a case of falsifying data and a lack of "ethical reasoning" on the part of Professor Obakata. However, the Institute has yet to comment on actual facts despite the findings that have come to light, and is giving itself a year to "attempt to review the method".
The Enquiry Committee concluded that a professional error had been committed after finding evidence of falsified data and images submitted in support of the thesis. Professor Obokata therefore faces sanctions. The President of the RIKEN Institute commented as follows: "If the irregularities highlighted by the Enquiry Commission are confirmed following any appeal procedures, I will recommend that the publication be withdrawn. Firm but fair sanctions will be taken on the recommendations of a disciplinary committee".
If the experiment cannot be reproduced, as is the case to date, the thesis will not be challenged overall.
Some of the data have been validated. The RIKEN Institute will give itself a year to state whether or not STAP cells actually exist.