Duke cancer researcher quits as papers questioned

November 20, 2010

A Duke University cancer scientist resigned Friday amid concerns about his research that arose after the university started probing whether he'd lied on a grant application.

School spokeswoman Debbe Geiger also said another at the school is asking the journal to retract a paper he published with Anil Potti, the scientist who's stepping down. Potti's collaborator Joseph Nevins said some of the tests in the research they produced for that paper can not be duplicated.

Other papers submitted by Potti are also being reviewed, and three clinical trials based on his research have been closed, Geiger said.

A phone message left at a listing for Potti was not immediately returned Friday.

Potti was an associate professor of medicine at Duke who has been under investigation by the school since this summer, when his claim on a federal grant application to be a Rhodes Scholar was scrutinized. Geiger didn't immediately return a call seeking further information on what the school found out about the Rhodes Scholar claim.

Potti's research was questioned by statisticians at the University of Texas' M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, who were troubled by methods used in a study that described gene patterns that might help predict a patient's response to chemotherapy.

The December 2007 study also was questioned by 15 European scientists involved in the research, who expressed "grave concerns about the validity of their report" to the National Cancer Institute.

Potti has received a five-year, $729,000 grant from the American Society, but that award was suspended during the investigation into his work.


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5 / 5 (5) Nov 20, 2010
This is an ugly crime, that extends far beyond defrauding the American Cancer Society of their 729 grand. Even more damaging is that he is taking money from true scientists that are conducting valid research. If his phoney results led other scientists to follow a dead-end path, that is even worse. Fortunately he was caught early, before too much damage could be done.
All things considered, this is ultimately a victory for scientific integrity.
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 20, 2010
"Resume padding to gain academic stature is nothing new."
But we should trust all the scientists' assertions about AGW?
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2010
Potti mouth.

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