Sigma-Aldrich addresses irreproducibility in cancer research results

Donates $50K in products to the Reproducibility Project to foster replicable research and accelerate scientific discoveries in cancer biology

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ST. LOUIS—Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, a leading life science and high technology company, will donate $50,000 in product value to the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology, a large-scale initiative to replicate key findings from recent high-impact papers in the field of cancer biology. The donation is part of Sigma-Aldrich’s commitment to help translational researchers address irreproducibility in research, a growing industry concern The project is a collaboration between the online research marketplace Science Exchange, the non-profit Center for Open Science and the open-access journal eLife. The goal of the project is to identify variables in the current scientific process that affect research outcomes and to promote open practices that have a sustainable impact on the culture of research.
In December, Sigma-Aldrich released its 2014 State of Translational Research Survey Report, which found that only 22 percent of translational researchers had complete success in the last year reproducing other labs’ published work. The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology aims to set a standard of best practices that maximize reproducibility and facilitate an accurate accumulation of knowledge, enabling potentially impactful findings to be effectively built upon by the scientific community.
“Sigma-Aldrich is committed to helping the scientific community address a serious issue in academic research,” said Amanda Halford, vice president of Sigma-Aldrich’s Academic Research Business. “Science that cannot be replicated delays breakthroughs and ultimately affects patient outcomes.”
With support from Sigma-Aldrich, Science Exchange and its supporters hope to achieve this goal by independently replicating key experimental findings in the field. The group plans to replicate key experiments from each of the 50 most impactful cancer biology studies published between 2010-2012, according to best practices for replication established by the Center for Open Science and others.
According to the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology website, the project aims to identify best practices through independent direct replication studies that maximize reproducibility and facilitate an accurate accumulation of knowledge, enabling potentially impactful novel findings to be effectively built upon by the scientific community. “Additionally,” the website states, “we expect to learn about: The overall rate of reproducibility in a sample of the published cancer biology literature; Obstacles that arise in conducting direct replications of original studies; The feasibility and practical challenges of getting proper materials, methods, and instrumentation for a replication; Predictors of replication success such as the journal in which the original finding was published, the citation impact of the original report, the number of direct replications that have been published elsewhere, the transparency of materials and methods included with the publication, and adherence to publishing checklists and guidelines.”
“Science Exchange provides easy access to the world’s top scientific service providers. We’re proud to leverage our network of experts to rigorously conduct the replication studies for the Reproducibility Project,” said Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Science Exchange. “In order to ensure the robustness of our replication results, we need our labs to use the highest-quality products. That’s why we’re excited about our collaboration with Sigma-Aldrich, whose superb products will help us ensure the fidelity and accuracy of our experiments.”
To meet the quality needs and requirements for translational researchers to conduct accurate experiments, Sigma-Aldrich has more than 700 employees across 37 countries dedicated to quality control systems. Additionally, within its global network, the company boasts 44 quality-control laboratories and nine quality certifications. As primary standards, Sigma-Aldrich complies with and maintains quality assurance qualifications of cGLP, cGMP, cGDP, ISO, SafeBridge and USDA. This commitment to quality enables the company to provide the most validated reagents in the industry including product lines such as the MISSON® shRNA offering, Prestige Antibodies®, validated CRISPRs, and ECACC® cell lines.
To download a copy of the State of Translational Research 2014 Survey Report and learn more about Sigma-Aldrich’s offerings to help address irreproducibility, visit To visually learn more about ways to address the reproducibility gap, visit
Sigma-Aldrich, a leading life-science and technology company focused on human health and safety, manufactures and distributes 250,000 chemicals, biochemicals and other essential products to more than 1.4 million customers globally in research and applied labs as well as in industrial and commercial markets. With three distinct business units—Research, Applied and SAFC Commercial, Sigma-Aldrich is committed to enabling science to improve the quality of life.  The company operates in 37 countries, has approximately 9,300 employees worldwide and had sales of $2.79 billion in 2014.

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