Columbia University has halted research at its prestigious brain-imaging center after federal investigators found repeated safety and ethical violations, The New York Times reports.
Investigators from the Food and Drug Administration found that researchers at Columbia’s Kreitchman PET Center — considered a leader in the use of positron emission tomography to study brain disorders — routinely injected mental patients with impure radiotracers. Such injections would threaten the health of the patients and the scientific validity of the research.
FDA investigators also found a document altered to hide a drug impurity.
The university said in a statement on Friday that it had conducted its own investigation of the lab at the FDA’s request and had found no evidence of harm to patients, the Times reports.
David I. Hirsh, Columbia’s executive vice president for research, acknowledged problems with quality control and record-keeping and told the Times that the university was “fundamentally reorganizing the lab’s management and operations.”