Former Harvard Professor Forced to Retract Multiple Articles over Ethics Concerns


A former Harvard University professor of ophthalmology has retracted eight research paper abstracts published in professional journals over ethics concerns regarding the research procedures used in the different studies.

Jorge Arroyo, was a former director of retina services at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and is currently in private practice. Arroyo was the lead author of the papers that were published in three different professional journals: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS), Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology and Translational Vision Science & Technology. Six articles were retracted from IOVS, while one article was pulled from each of the other two publications.

First reported by Retraction Watch, the abstracts pulled from IOVS were all submitted to the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology over a three-year period from 2019 to 2021. The publication noted that there was a “serious issue related to lack of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the research procedures.” That breach was brought to the IRB and ultimately corroborated by Arroyo and his colleagues. Once that breach was corroborated, IOVS said it agreed they should be retracted from the journal, according to the report.

The other two publications posted similar language regarding the pulling of the articles, as well. The announcement from Clinical & Experimental Oncology said “the study procedures deviated from the human research ethics approval received for the research.”

Some of Arroyo’s articles centered on normobaric hyperoxia treatment for various eye diseases, including dry age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema. Retinas require oxygen and it is thought that the use of normobaric oxygen could alleviate some of the issues related to these diseases.

Arroyo told The Boston Globe that he preferred to not discuss the retractions, only noting that “people make mistakes.” The Globe also reported that Arroyo’s departure from Beth Israel was around the same time the issues with the abstracts were first reported. Arroyo again told the publication that he would not discuss his departure from the hospital, only calling it a “complicated issue.”

Arroyo is not the first former Harvard professor to have to retract articles he authored. Four years ago, Piero Anversa, a pioneer in the field of cardiac research, also had a plethora of articles he authored come into question regarding allegedly falsified claims made in the articles. Anversa, along with two other researchers, used the claims to secure $10 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health. Anversa’s lab at Harvard has since been shuttered.

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