Levon Khachigian

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Levon Michael Khachigian (born 6 March 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon)[1] is an Australian medical scientist notable for work in vascular cell and molecular biology, cardiovascular pathology, and cancer pathology.[2][3] He is the inventor of the experimental drug Dz13, which may help treat skin cancer, eye diseases, and asthma.[4][5] Trials of Dz13 were temporarily suspended by UNSW in July 2013. The trial had yet to commence patient recruitment."[6][7][8]

Early life and education[edit]

Khachigian was born in Beirut to Armenian parents who were evangelical Protestant missionaries,[1][9] He was raised in Naremburn, New South Wales, Australia[10] and attended Naremburn Public School and Crows Nest Boys' High School.[11]

Khachigian subsequently obtained a B.Sc. with first-class honours, a Ph.D., and a D.Sc. from the University of New South Wales.[1]


The Khachigian research group developed Dz13, a molecule that targets the master regulator c-Jun, which is implicated in numerous diseases.[12] This development was published in The Lancet.[5]


Khachigian has served as a President of the Australian Society for Medical Research and of the Australian Vascular Biology Society.[1] He has also been a member of the editorial boards of 12 journals, including American Journal of Pathology and Endothelium.[1] Khachigian has been awarded an Australia Fellowship by the National Health and Medical Research Council, a Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research, a GlaxoSmithKline Australia Award for Research Excellence, a Gottschalk Medal from the Australian Academy of Science, a Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, and a Eureka Prize for Medical Research.[1][9]



In 2009, Khachigian's lab retracted three papers[13] after David Vaux (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) raised concerns that they contained images that Vaux "believed were untrustworthy".[14] An independent investigation found no evidence of misconduct.[14][6]

A former scientist in Khachigian's research group Ying Morgan raised concerns with the university.[14] The university appointed an independent panel to investigate these concerns and "there were no findings of research misconduct."[6]


In July 2013, a Dz13 trial was suspended.[14][6] In an official statement, the University of New South Wales claimed that the more recent allegations are novel, that at each of Khachigian's clinical trials, Kachigian's work has been approved by ethics committees, and that, at each stage, funding bodies have been advised as necessary.[15]

Furthermore, Khachigian, released a statement and reply to questions posed to him.[16] In it, he asserted that, as the matter was under investigation, he could not comment; however, Khachigian maintained that the data is as is and not manipulated and that the allegations were unsubstantiated.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Levon M. Khachigian". National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. 
  2. ^ "Tackling Australia's national cancer". Cancer Institute of New South Wales. 4 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Editors". International Journal of Oncology. Spandidos Publications. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  4. ^ "Skin cancer no longer needs surgery". Nine News. 
  5. ^ a b "Wide role for new drug targeting skin cancer gene". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 7 May 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d "UNSW response to ABC 730 story". UNSW Newsroom. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Scott, Sophie; McGregor, Jeanavive (13 August 2013). "Trials of skin cancer drug Dz13 suspended pending investigation at UNSW". ABC News. 
  8. ^ "Trial of experimental cancer drug suspended due to allegations". UPI.com. 13 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Smith, Deborah (14 August 2003). "Gene result a touch of sheer brilliance". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 
  10. ^ Pandaram, Jamie (27 April 2006). "To crack the maze - Heart Disease - Health in Focus". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 
  11. ^ "Levon Khachigian, PhD". Australian Institute of Policy & Science. 
  12. ^ "Dz13 Drug Targets Skin Cancer in Clinical Trial". Asian Scientist. 13 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Marcus, Adam (12 August 2013). "Aussie university halts trials of skin cancer drug whose developer has four retractions". Retraction Watch. 
  14. ^ a b c d Corderoy, Amy (13 August 2013). "Cancer drug trial suspended as misconduct allegations fly". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  15. ^ "UNSW response to ABC 730 story". UNSW. 12 August 2013. 
  16. ^ Kachigian, Levon (11 August 2013). "The statement from Professor Khachigian". 

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