- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — A scientific journal is retracting a research paper published more than eight years ago that reported a gene therapy treatment had led to remission of Type 1 diabetes in rats and mice.

In its Thursday issue, Nature said the lead author of the paper — Hyun Chul Lee of Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea — and two other authors asked for the retraction because they could not reproduce the experiment’s results.

Another author maintains the results are still valid and did not join in the retraction request, the journal said. A fifth author is deceased.

In Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, the body mistakenly attacks insulin-producing cells. Patients must inject themselves with insulin to survive. The researchers reported eliminating the disease in rodents by slipping into them a man-made gene designed to produce an insulin-like chemical.

The authors wrote at the time that the approach might be useful for humans. But diabetes experts told The Associated Press in November 2000 that it wasn’t clear the treatment would work in people.

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