One of the best-known stem cell paper is being withdrawn due to flawed data according to New Scientist. This has angered some researchers including Jeanne Loring, a stem cell biologist at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, California. She states, “if I had been following this recipe since 2002, I’d be extremely angry.”

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Katherine Schaefer and her colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York believe they have discovered a new way to attack tumors that have learned how to evade existing drugs. However, that’s not what makes this article so interesting. According to a MSNBC article, the discovery was not from years of research, but from a lab disaster.

MSNBC writes

She was testing a compound called a PPAR-gamma modulator. It would never normally have been thought of as a cancer drug, or in fact a drug of any kind.

“I made a calculation error and used a lot more than I should have. And my cells died,” Schaefer said.

A colleague overheard her complaining. “The co-author on my paper said,’ Did I hear you say you killed some cancer?’ I said ‘Oh’, and took a closer look.”

They ran several tests and found the compound killed ”pretty much every epithelial tumor cell lines we have seen,” Schaefer said. Epithelial cells line organs such as the colon, and also make up skin.

It also killed colon tumors in mice without making the mice sick, they reported in the journal International Cancer Research.