Potti Mess: Vice Chancellor says scandal is "one of biggest... in medical history." Many more papers to be retracted.

Search words Dr. Anil Potti, Duke University
✔✔✔✔✔ Buried in today's Chronicle story on academic research, there's some real news about Dr. Anil Potti, who thus far has had to retract five articles that he wrote for important medical journals. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

In case you are new to Duke, Potti was the golden boy of Duke Medicine, a cancer researcher who was exceedingly well funded. For years, Duke ignored warnings that Potti's research had holes in it, until last year it all exploded with revelation that he created a Rhodes Scholarship for himself. Subsequently, we learned that more than five years of study at Duke were founded on fantasy, fueled by falsification of data. Potti resigned from Duke late last year and is now ... get this... practicing cancer medicine in South Carolina. There are at least two investigations underway.

OK back to today's development: Dr. Robert Califf, vice chancellor for medical research: “We’re amidst one of the biggest retractions in medical history... (Potti) was a co-author on about 40 papers that had original data that was generated at Duke, and we’re in the process of retracting about a third of those papers, and there are another third... being partially retracted.”

Califf says throughout the rest of Duke Medicine, there are usually zero retractions every year.

Potti wrote many of his papers with Dr. Joseph Nevins, his mentor. And there were other Duke names that recurred on many of the papers. Stay tuned.

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