Carlo M. Croce
Carlo M. Croce
Carlo Maria Croce
December 17, 1944
Carlo Maria Croce (born December 17, 1944) is an Italian-American professor of medicine at Ohio State University, specializing in oncology and noted for research into the genetic mechanisms of cancer. Croce's work focuses on microRNAs and their role in oncology. His research has attracted public attention because of multiple allegations of scientific misconduct.
Croce received numerous awards, including the 2006 Clowes Memorial Award from the American Association for Cancer Research for his discoveries of the molecular mechanisms of leukemia. In 2010, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Croce was the director of Human Cancer Genetics, chairman of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, director of the Institute of Genetics at the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center, and professor of medical oncology at the University of Ferrara School of Medicine. A statement from OSU reports that "[e]ffective January 1, 2019, Carlo Croce will no longer be the chair" of the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics. Croce subsequently sued OSU to reclaim that position.
Education and career
Croce was born on December 17, 1944, in Milan, Italy, to a housewife and a mechanical engineer. At age 2, he moved to Rome with his family. In 1963, he entered the school of medicine of La Sapienza University of Rome and graduated in 1969 summa cum laude in medicine and Latin.
He began his career in the United States the following year as an associate scientist at the Wistar Institute of Biology and Anatomy in Philadelphia. In 1980, he was named Wistar Professor of Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania and associate director of the Wistar Institute, titles he held until 1988. He was at Wistar from 18 years. From 1988-91, he was director of the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Croce rapidly expanded the faculty and staff and launched a PhD programme in genetics, but said he was not given enough support and space by Temple.
In 1991, Croce was named Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Medical College at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. In a controversial move, he took with him most of the PIs and over 200 staff from the Fels Institute. While at Jefferson, he discovered in 2002 the role of microRNAs in cancer pathogenesis and progression, implicating a new class of genes in cancer causation - he found that loss of two miRNAs that target BCL2 caused chronic lymphocytic leukemia in mice. While at Jefferson, federal investigators alleged Croce and a colleague had submitted false claims for research never undertaken. The university settled the allegations, paying $2.6 million to the government without admitting any wrongdoing.
In 1994, Croce joined the Council for Tobacco Research’s scientific advisory board, where he remained until the group closed after the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. During that time, tobacco companies used Croce's research into fragile histidine triad (FHIT) to argue that lung cancer was an inherited condition. However this is in contrast with previous published work from Croce and collaborators that stated, since 1997, that FHIT gene was lost as a direct consequence of smoking cigarettes 
In 2004, Croce moved to Ohio State University, where he had been an external advisor since 1988, receiving a salary of $475,000 and taking with him over 100 staff. Under his direction, the faculty within the Human Cancer Genetics Program conduct both clinical and basic research. Basic research projects focus on how genes are activated and inactivated, how cell-growth signals are transmitted and regulated within cells, and how cells interact with the immune system. Clinical research focuses on discovering genes linked to cancer and mutations that predispose people to cancer.
Croce has received over $86 million in federal grants as a principle investigator, with $29.1 million received since he joined Ohio State.
Croce was removed as chair of the department of cancer Biology and genetics effective January 1, 2019. He has since sued to be reinstated.
Investigations into scientific misconduct
Works by Croce are currently under scrutiny by the scientific community for possible misconduct and data manipulation. Since 2013, several scientists have made public claims of research misconduct, and more than twenty corrections and retractions have been issued on research he has published. These allegations are being investigated by the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI). Ohio State had previously mismanaged investigations of scientific misconduct when Terry Elton was first cleared and later found guilty of fabricating data after the ORI rejected Ohio State's initial investigation.
Members of the scientific community have pointed out the "tremendous conflict of interest" in the investigations by Ohio State University, as the funding awarded to Croce includes $8.7 million given directly to the university in overhead costs.
In 2007, Ohio State investigated Croce for misconduct after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) returned an application for funding that contained major portions identical to an application submitted months earlier by a junior colleague.
Ohio State cleared Croce of misconduct after accusations that he had patented a researcher's work without providing credit and that members of his lab had used grant money for personal trips abroad, and improperly pressured for research attribution.
In 2013, Ohio State instructed him to make corrections and retractions after Clare Francis accused Croce of manipulating western blots in over 30 research papers. Clinical Cancer Research issued a correction in November 2015, after being contacted on the matter by a newspaper. In 2014, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America dismissed a challenge that Croce's 2005 paper on the WWOX gene it had published contained manipulated western blots, but in 2017, the journal agreed to correct the paper after consulting with experts interviewed by a newspaper. In 2017, Cell Death and Differentiation retracted a paper Croce had published in 2010 after it was pointed out that images had been copied from a paper published in 2008 in PLoS One. In 2017, J Biol Chem retracted a paper Croce had published in 2008 after it was pointed out that errors had occurred in the construction of Figs. 1D, 3C, 5C, and 5H, and supplemental Fig. 1A.
On May 10, 2017, Croce filed a lawsuit against the New York Times and several of its writers and editors for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On November 6, 2018 United States District Judge James Graham dismissed virtually all of Croce's lawsuit. In 2017 Croce also filed a defamation lawsuit against critic David Sanders (biologist) of Purdue University, who was quoted in the New York Times article.
In 2018, two other cancer researchers at Ohio State University and both co-authors with Croce on two papers each, Samson T. Jacob and Ching-Shih Chen, joined Croce in being investigated for scientific misconduct.
Croce has said Columbus, Ohio lacks culture, motivating him to spend more of his time traveling than on campus. Croce privately collects Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings, with an ability to identify and purchase genuine masters for a fraction of their worth. Croce lives in a large house in Upper Arlington, Ohio, where he keeps over 400 of his paintings in a 5,000 square foot wing under 21 foot ceilings. He is not a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes and disdains local fans.
In 2016, Croce was paid more than $850,000 by Ohio State.
Discoveries and awards
He discovered the juxtaposition of the human immunoglobulin genes to the MYC oncogene and the deregulation of MYC in Burkitt lymphoma; the MLL gene involved in acute leukemias; the TCL1A gene associated with T-cell leukemias; and cloned, named and characterized the BCL2 gene involved in follicular lymphoma. Croce also uncovered early events involved in the pathogenesis of lung, nasopharyngeal, head and neck, esophageal, gastrointestinal and breast cancers. In April 2017, Croce received the Margaret Foti Award from the AACR for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research.
- 1987 Scientific Award, American Cancer Society, Philadelphia Division
- 1990 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, Association for Cancer Research
- 1993 Charles S. Mott Prize, General Motors Cancer Research Foundation
- 1994 Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Cancer Award
- 1994 Honorary Member, Japanese Cancer Association
- 1996 National Academy of Sciences MVIMG
- 1997 Scientific Excellence in Medicine Award, American-Italian Cancer Foundation
- 1999 The 1999 AACR-Pezcoller International Award for Cancer Research, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
- 1999 Raymond Bourgine Award and Gold Medal of Paris
- 2000 Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
- 2003 Italian Gold Medal for Public Health, Presented by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
- 2003 Foreign Member, Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze, delta dei XL
- 2005 Gottlieb Award, MD Anderson Cancer Center
- 2005 Prix Leopold Griffuel, sponsored by the French Association for Cancer Research
- 2010 Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)
- 2011 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research
- 2013 The Eliezer Flescher Memorial Lecture, The Israeli Society for Cancer Research
- 2013 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors
- 2014 Janet Rowley Memorial Lecture, American Association for Cancer Research, Philadelphia, PA
- 2015 Outstanding Investigator Award, National Cancer Institute
- 2017 AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research
- 2018 Dan David Prize
- "AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award" (PDF). American Association for Cancer Research. April 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Academy Home - American Academy of Arts & Sciences". www.amacad.org.
- "Under protest, OSU cancer researcher dogged by misconduct allegations stepping down as department chair". Retraction Watch. 2018-11-29. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
- Marcus, Adam (2019-01-10). "OSU cancer researcher who has faced misconduct allegations sues to regain lost department chairmanship". Retraction Watch. Retraction Watch. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
- Dickinson, Susan L-J (June 24, 1991). "Prominent Scientist Switches Labs, Sparking Administrative Fireworks". The Scientist. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Ohio State's Carlo M. Croce - A Macro View of MicroRNA". Science Watch. 19 (2): 3–4. March 2008. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- James Glanz; Agustin Armendariz (9 March 2017). "Years of Ethics Charges, but Star Cancer Researcher Gets a Pass". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- Sozzi, Gabriella (1 June 1997). "Association between cigarette smoking and FHIT gene alterations in lung cancer". Cancer Research. 57 (11): 2121–3. PMID 9187107.
- Leonard, Martha (August 23, 2004). "OSU lures scientist to lead cancer genetics program". Columbus Business First. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- Abbott, Alison (January 7, 2014). "Leaked Files Slam Stem-Cell Therapy". Nature Magazine. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "When does "overlap" become plagiarism? Here's what PLOS ONE decided". 16 September 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- "Journal retracts paper due to image mismatch; one co-author alleges fraud". 24 January 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- Trapasso, Francesco; Pichiorri, Flavia; Gaspari, Marco; Palumbo, Tiziana; Aqeilan, Rami I.; Gaudio, Eugenio; Okumura, Hiroshi; Iuliano, Rodolfo; Leva, Giampiero Di; Fabbri, Muller; Birk, David E.; Raso, Cinzia; Green-Church, Kari; Spagnoli, Luigi G.; Venuta, Salvatore; Huebner, Kay; Croce, Carlo M. (25 August 2017). "Fhit interaction with ferredoxin reductase triggers generation of reactive oxygen species and apoptosis of cancer cells". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 292 (34): 14279–14279. doi:10.1074/jbc.A117.709062. PMID 28842474 – via www.jbc.org.
- "Croce v. New York Times Company et al". Justia Dockets & Filings.
- "Why The Ohio State University decided to go public about misconduct". Science | AAAS. 5 April 2018.
- "Judge dismisses most of Carlo Croce's libel case against the New York Times". 8 November 2018.
- "Croce v. Sanders". PacerMonitor LLC. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
- PubMed. 2018-12-24 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=croce+cm+AND+jacob+st. Missing or empty
- PubMed. 2018-12-24 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=croce+cm+AND+chen+cs. Missing or empty
- "Cancer biologist retracts five papers". Retraction Watch. 14 March 2018.
- "OSU Professor Falsified Data on Eight Papers, Resigns". The Scientist.
- "Retraction count for Italian researcher swells to 15 as five papers fall". 5 March 2018.
- "Alfredo Fusco, facing misconduct charges in Italy, up to 21 retractions". Retraction Watch. 2018-12-24. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
- Pagán Westphal, Sylvia. "High Hopes for a New Kind of Gene". Smithsonian (July 2009). Retrieved 10 March 2017.
- "Ohio State cancer researcher Carlo Croce's 7th paper withdrawn; university in review".
- "Dr. Carlo Croce Recognized With 2017 AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research". AACR. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- "Croce, Carlo". Ohio State University College of Medicine. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- 2 recent retractions:
- Fedele, Monica; Visone, Rosa; De Martino, Ivana; Palmieri, Dario; Valentino, Teresa; Esposito, Francesco; Klein-Szanto, Andres; Arra, Claudio; Ciarmiello, Andrea; Croce, Carlo M.; Fusco, Alfredo (2015). "Retraction notice to "Expression of a truncated Hmga1b gene induces gigantism, lipomatosis and B-cell lymphomas in mice" [Eur J Cancer 47 (2011) 470–478]". Eur. J. Cancer. 51 (6): 789. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2015.03.001. PMID 25977969.
- "Retraction". DNA Cell Biol. 33 (3): 189. Mar 2014. doi:10.1089/dna.2008.0778.retract. PMID 24593127.