ARTICLE | Translation in Brief

Tracking TrkB agonists

TrkB agonists aren't what they seem

September 14, 2017 8:45 PM UTC

It turns out that neurotrophic TrkB agonists used in many publications aren't TrkB agonists after all, according to a recent Science Signaling paper from Columbia University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The publication reinforces concerns raised in a 2014 paper from the CHDI Foundation Inc. and is an illustration of why high-profile journals and funding agencies should support "negative" data studies at a time when translational research is grappling with the reproducibility crisis.

Dalibor Sames, associate professor of chemistry at Columbia, told BioCentury it's unclear why multiple researchers saw neurologic benefits for the selected compounds, but credited Science Signaling for sticking to its pledge to publish negative data that passes peer review. "Science Signaling has recently published an editorial article about the importance of reproducibility and publishing negative data, and we tested their words. The review process was rigorous but at the same time open to publishing negative data," said Sames. He added: "The culture needs to change, it shouldn't be such a big deal to acknowledge errors in science and correct them in publications.”...