Cancer scientists fail to replicate key study results – for good reasons

| | January 26, 2017
la oe firestein science replication failure
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The general principle [of replicating studies] is that if the results repeat, then the original results were correct and reliable. If they don’t, then the first study must be flawed, or its findings false.

As researchers reproduce more experiments, they’re learning that they can’t always get clear answers about the reliability of the original results.

Take the latest findings from the large-scale Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology. Here, researchers focused on reproducing experiments from the highest-impact papers about cancer biology published from 2010 to 2012…[N]ot one of their replications definitively confirmed the original results.

Replicating a study…[is] like trying to play a complicated board game without all the instructions or even all the parts.

Sometimes, things as small as the temperature of the lab could cause a cell biology experiment to flop, said [Tim Errington, who led the cancer reproducibility project].

“[Replication projects are] shining a light on the way we conduct research,” Errington said…But, he added, “If we make ourselves more open and transparent from the beginning, before our work is even published in a paper, that’ll probably help a lot.”

[The replication studies can be found here.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Cancer scientists are having trouble replicating groundbreaking research

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