As you may know, more than a year ago RIKEN set internal STAP reproducibility project. It was led by Hitoshi Niwa – a co-author of Obokata on both STAP papers. The final report of RIKEN internal reproducibility effort was published this week as preprint in BioRXiv (read full text here). As you may guess, the verdict is NO – it is not reproducible.
I’d like to remind you that in March of 2014, RIKEN released detailed STAP protocol to boost confidence in reproducibility efforts. At the moment of protocol release, Niwa was interviewed by Nature News and said:
… Haruko Obokata, Hitoshi Niwa and Yoshiki Sasai, all of the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe, say that despite its “seeming simplicity”, the method requires special care. But it is “absolutely reproducible”, Niwa told Nature News.
Today Niwa told Nature News that members of the team besides Obokata have replicated the bulk of the work and that others outside the laboratory have succeeded in the first crucial step, inducing Oct3/4 expression after the acid treatment.
As internal reproducibility project progressed, it became less clear, and, by the end of August of 2014 RIKEN released interim report, where acknowledged lack of STAP reproducibility. Niwa said in press conference:
No clear signs of the STAP phenomenon could be observed so far in 22 experiments.
So, the final RIKEN report, authored by Niwa alone, was published 5 days ago. By some reasons, it left unnoticed by the media. All original experiment in generation of acid-induced STAP cells was carefully repeated. It failed on every step!