✔Fact Checker here.
An internal investigation is not enough and here is why.
Duke has heard of problems with Potti for the past three years at least. No, no, not only with his resume, but with his science, his methodology, his conclusions.
Fact Checker now knows that late last year, there was a crescendo that caused Duke to stop clinical trials on three of his research programs, two involving lung cancer and one involving breast cancer. In each program, Potti was giving patients chemotherapy -- determining what drugs might work best and in what dosage -- based upon his genome research.
✔✔✔✔✔ In January Duke let these programs resume after an internal review. And these are the precise programs where Duke -- for the second time -- has now suspended new enrollments.
Yes, that's right, a second suspension.
✔✔✔ This means that from last winter's review, a lot of people at Duke -- some very high ranking -- including a secretive investigation board -- have their own reputations at stake.
In an official statement on the winter review, Duke said it had determined Potti's approaches were "viable and likely to succeed.” Duke did not reveal the limited scope of the review -- it did not even look into all major errors that had been called to the university's attention -- nor did Duke report that the review had also led to negative findings.
There is a world-wide tsunami criticizing Duke for its first investigation, at every stage. Not just for failing to find lies on Potti's resume, but for a faulty investigation of the clinical trials. As Mr Goldberg (the Cancer Letter reporter) has stated, "To be credible, the institutional investigation would need to address the role of the Duke administration in restarting the trials last January."
✔Once again, Brodhead just doesn't get it. We no longer have a matter for INTERNAL review, but a need to bring in an OUTSIDE panel with impeccable credentials to investigate this mess and restore confidence in Duke medicine.
We do not need Brodhead's e-mail to speak to us. That's the way he kissed off the Chronicle for this morning's story. We need him to stand before us in person. We need him to answer follow up questions. We need to see his expressions.
Chancellor Dzau should be at his side. One e-mail to his faculty a week ago does not cut it either.
We the stakeholders, we the patients need reassurance.
And I am tired of seeing murky answers about the 107 or 109 people who were enrolled in Potti's trials before NEW enrollments were stopped. They are getting chemotherapy right now -- based upon Potti's determinations in his "studies" on what would be best for them.
Dr. Michael Cuffe, vice dean, medical affairs, says those patients are just fine. Others at major cancer centers have warned of extreme danger.
✔Yes this is the same Cuffe, who along with Sally Kornbluth, vice dean for research, who signed off on the investigation and let the trials resume in January.
Here's another name to watch: Dr. Joseph Nevins. the Barbara Levine Professor of Breast Cancer Genomics and Director of the Center for Applied Genomics and Technology. Heavyweight. His name appeared on many grant applications with Potti, an associate professor.
There are other names too. Potti's website reveals a tight knit family -- they hold holiday parties together, they go out together. And he even lists "alumni." There are several doctors on the entry level at Duke Hospital right now who trained under him who would also be affected if his research empire collapsed, as well it might.
One fear: that Potti will fail in every dimension, and money will dry up for similar projects trying to use genetics to determine what drugs will work best. Important.
It's believed the three trials now on suspension are supported by the American Cancer Society, the Department of Defense (for breast cancer) and a drug company. You know, Duke could always lay out the facts for us instead of needing a Fact Checker to ferret them out.
Oh Brodhead, oh Brodhead.
✔✔✔ Beyond inventing a Rhodes Scholarship (Australia) for himself, Fact Checker can report this morning|
-- That Potti's resume claimed a research fellowship at "Queensland Research Institute" in Australia. This place does not exist.
-- That Porri claimed study under the noted scientist Gordon McLaren at Queensland. McLaren says at the time indicated, he had never heard of Potti. Nor Queensland for that matter, though he did spend a sabbatical at an institution with a name similar in some respects.
-- That Potti stepped on his own tail, this "fellowship" occurring at the same time as his Rhodes Scholarship. He was in two places at the same time.
-- That Potti listed an award from the American Society of Hematology. The Society says this did not occur.
There may be more. This is what Fact Checker can assemble this morning.
Potti states his medical degree is from Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. Yes, I have sent them repeated e-mails. A Loyal Reader has questioned whether this three year program is sufficient for Duke to allow him to wander its halls as a Doctor.
The school says it "seeks to be a witness to the healing ministry of Christ, through excellence in education, service and research."
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