December 13th, 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 researcher at the school is asking the journal Nature Medicine 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 breast cancer 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 Cancer Society, but that award was suspended during the investigation into his work.