'94, '95, '96 -- Three different years for Potti MD degree!!!

✔Fact Checker here. 12:01 AM Wednesday. Waiting.

We await Duke's decision in the fake credentials case against Dr. Anil Potti. Make sure, Loyal Readers, that you keep this in context: as important as this is, it is far eclipsed by the external investigation into the bum science of Potti and his mentor Dr. Joseph Nevins, who specified experimental treatment for people with lung and breast cancer based upon their "findings."

Whisper #1 - The decision was first delayed by the necessity to remove Dr. Michael Cuffe from the internal review. See below.

Whisper # 2 - The delay now is caused by Duke's trying to salvage money from three grants held by Potti and Nevins, assigning new researchers.

Whisper # 3 - Duke has decided not to dismiss Potti for resume infractions, and is taking measures to brace for a firestorm.

Whisper # 4 - Duke will issue a split verdict, removing him from one job, but letting keep another with a censure. Potti holds two appointments: associate professor in the Department of Medicine and investigator in the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy. Split verdict? No way.

✔Beyond the faked Rhodes Scholarship that has attracted world-wide media attention, Fact Checker has now seen documents in which Potti claims he graduated from medical school in various years.

These include:

---1994 - application for internship/residency at University of North Dakota

---1995 - request to the National Institutes of Health for money

---1996 - a statement from Potti's medical school before the scandal broke. The school has since clammed up, which of course only piques your Fact Checker.

✔Fact Checker has previously reported on Dr Michael Cuffe, point man in the credentials investigation until the heat got too high. He had predicted a decision last week -- but with no explanation, he disappeared to be replaced by Provost Lange.

Reason: Cuffe signed off on re-instating Potti last January after a limited investigation into his science. Not credentials, his science. Also signing off: Dr Sally Kornbluth, vice dean for research, a new name in this story. She's sure to reappear.

The limited probe and the Cuffe-Kornbluth decision to reinstate are being blasted and blasted. First by Keith Baggerly and Kevin Coombes, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, who have devoted almost a full year, 1500 hours of work, in pursuit of the truth. Duke should honor them -- along with its alum Paul Goldberg '81, principal reporter who broke this scandal for The Cancer Letter. You want to bet? President Brodhead will not bust out of the Bostock-Woodruff axis, rewarding those faithful to him.

✔Duke itself is in the process of rewriting history. An important document listing Potti as a Rhodes Scholar is gone from Duke's website. Duke should have posted an editor's note with a correction -- not tried to hide the entire report.


Fact Checker previously reported Duke -- while devoid of current news -- had put up a precious post on its PR website where routinely there are links to coverage the university is getting. Thus a Duke expert in a CNN story with this headline:

"Crisis management 101: What can BP CEO Hayward's mistakes teach us?"

Gone. Deleted it from the archives too.

On Tuesday Duke posted a news release about freshman orientation:

"Durham, NC -- From a tutorial for students on plagiarism to a small squeezable cow stamped with the phrase "Got Honor?" to a special session during freshman orientation, Duke is making every effort to get the word out to students about academic integrity."

I do not know if visitors are entitled to sit in on these freshman integrity sessions -- people from Duke Medicine and all.

✔Potti currently sits on scientific advisory boards at Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmith-Kline and CancerGuideDx. Silence there. In the past, he sat on the Johnson and Johnson advisory board. Silence there. These positions underscore how big a matter this scandal is.

✔Discussion of whether a crime was committed. Geoffrey Mearns, interim provost, Cleveland State, former federal prosecutor:

"Anyone who submitted a false statement to a federal agency in connection with grant funding has potentially violated a federal statute." Title 18 of US Code, Section 1001, makes any false statement to the government a crime.

"If that statement was transmitted using the mails or if it was transmitted in a wire interstate, then that can be wire fraud or mail fraud."

✔Two quotes from this crisis that Fact Checker likes. One so typically British, the other so typically Allen Building:

Responding to reports that Potti is defending himself by explaining you and I read it wrong -- he only said he was a Rhodes nominee: "The Rhodes Trust self-evidently expects that an individual will only claim to be a Rhodes scholar after having been formally awarded the scholarship by the trustees."

The Cancer Letter pursuing comment in the early days of the scandal: "Duke officials didn't respond to questions.... Multiple calls and e-mails from The Cancer Letter were ignored." Hell Fact Checker could have predicted that!!

Thank you for reading.
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1 comment:

  1. http://www.genome.duke.edu/press/genomelife/archives/issue25/GL_JanFeb07.pdf


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