Potti apologizes. Withdraws article from the highest prestige New England Journal of Medicine. 8 other Duke scientists involved

Search words: Anil Potti Duke University

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For the first time, Dr Anil Potti has apologized.

In a retraction letter co-signed with other authors of an article on lung cancer in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, Potti and the others say they "deeply regret" the effect their mess has had on other scientists.

FC notes that there was no mention of patients whom Potti enrolled in clinical trials -- that is, experiments on human beings.

Three other Potti papers in other journals have been retracted, but only with the signature of his mentor Dr Joseph Nevins, a heavyweight in Duke's genome research. Since many journals require all authors to join a retraction request, it has been a subject of much speculation whether Potti had gone along.

In the initial hours after the Journal printed the retraction, the University has made no comment.

Potti, the Duke cancer doctor who faked a Rhodes Scholarship and other credentials, who claimed discoveries that would have revolutionized genome science that turned out to be wrong or fraudulent, and who conducted experiments on human beings that Duke itself says should not have been allowed, resigned from Duke in November. He has been in seclusion at his home in Chapel Hill.

The journal published the retraction rather inconspicuously under its "Correspondence" section. It was signed by Potti and eight other Duke researchers as well as others.

To the Editor:

We would like to retract our article, “A Genomic Strategy to Refine Prognosis in Early-Stage Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer,” which was published in the Journal on August 10, 2006.1 Using a sample set from a study by the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) and a collection of samples from a study by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), we have tried and failed to reproduce results supporting the validation of the lung metagene model described in the article. We deeply regret the effect of this action on the work of other investigators.

Anil Potti, M.D.
Chapel Hill, NC

Sayan Mukherjee, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Rebecca Petersen, M.D.
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Holly K. Dressman, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Andrea Bild, Ph.D.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Jason Koontz, M.D.
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Robert Kratzke, M.D.
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Mark A. Watson, M.D., Ph.D.
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

Michael Kelley, M.D.
Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, M.D., Ph.D.
Mike West, Ph.D.
David H. Harpole, Jr., M.D.
Joseph R. Nevins, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

As noted above, the last signatory -- Nevins -- is Potti's mentor and a Medical Center heavyweight. Ginsburg is another star, founding director of the Center for Genomic Medicine. Harpole is a noted Duke surgeon. Dressman is director of the Duke Microarray Facility. West has flown under the radar, but was the bio-statistician in most of Potti's research. FC has been unable to trace the others identified as Duke scientists.

We know that Potti is facing formal faculty misconduct charges -- but have no information on the others. At one point, Chancellor Dzau stated the science of Nevins was also under investigation, but later e-mail to the medical community omitted his name.

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