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Duke researcher resigns

10/24/2010
Julie Manoharan

A Duke University cancer researcher under investigation for research misconduct has resigned; the clinical trials based on his work have been halted.

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A Duke University cancer researcher, under investigation for falsifying his credentials and manipulating published data, has resigned from the university. Duke has halted three clinical trials that were based on his research.

Anil Potti resigned from his position at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP) and the School of Medicine four months after being placed on paid administrative leave during a university investigation into his professional credentials and his research conduct.

Anil Potti resigned from his position at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP) and the School of Medicine four months after being placed on paid administrative leave during a university investigation into his professional credentials and his research conduct. Source: InsideDukeMedicine.org

Potti is accused of falsely claiming to have received a Rhodes Scholarship and other prestigious awards on several occasions, including on an American Cancer Society grant application. Potti is also accused of manipulating data in multiple papers published by his lab.

In an e-mail addressed to his staff, Duke IGSP director Huntington Willard wrote, “In a letter to me, [Potti] accepted full responsibility for a series of anomalies in the data handling, analysis, and management that have come under scrutiny in the past months.”

Last week, the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JOC) retracted a 2007 paper by Potti’s group because the results could not be replicated using the original data set. The retraction was initiated by Joseph Nevins, director of the Duke IGSP Center for Applied Genomics and Technology and one of Potti’s former collaborators, who requested the retraction. He has also asked Nature Medicine to retract a 2007 paper that Potti co-authored. That retraction is still pending.

Duke has terminated the three clinical cancer trials based on Potti’s 2007 JOC paper, wherein 111 participants were treated according to the paper’s findings. The trials were suspended earlier this month when the initial investigation into Potti’s resume expanded to include his research. Duke informed participants about the termination and advised them to discuss further treatment with their physicians.

An investigation into Potti’s other published papers is currently underway, according to Willard’s e-mail. The American Cancer Society (ACS) is also investigating Potti’s $179,000 grant that he received after falsely claiming to be a Rhodes Scholar on the application.

Keywords:  Duke misconduct Potti