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Duke finds problems with Potti’s resume

An internal investigation of Dr. Anil Potti found “issues of substantial concern” with the cancer researcher’s resume, according to a Duke News release issued this afternoon.

Duke has imposed sanctions on Potti as a result of the investigation, according to the statement. The statement does not describe the sanctions, but Provost Peter Lange said Potti, who is not tenured, will remain on paid administrative leave until all investigations into his work have been completed.

“A final decision about Dr. Potti’s future status as a Duke employee and faculty member will also be informed by the results of the research misconduct inquiry and the independent external evaluation of the science,” the statement said.

Lange led the investigation of Potti’s academic credentials and resume, which began after The Cancer Letter reported problems with Potti’s resume, including that he falsely claimed to have won several awards.

In addition, some scientists have raised concerns about the validity of Potti’s research on the use of genomic technology in cancer treatment. His research will be reviewed in two investigations that will begin soon.

While Lange declined to describe the “issues of substantial concern” in Potti’s resume, representatives from the Lymphoma Research Foundation and the American Society of Hematology, both organizations that Potti claimed to have received awards from, said there is no record of someone by his name receiving an award. However, the spokesman from ASH acknowledged that record keeping during the time when Potti claimed to have won an award was not as accurate as it is now.

According to today’s statement, Duke will lead a research misconduct inquiry as specified by University policies and federal law.

The statement also noted that Duke is facilitating an independent, external evaluation of Potti’s work. The agreement between the University and the external research body that will conduct the review is currently being finalized, Dr. Victor Dzau said Aug. 16. Dzau is chancellor for health affairs and president and chief executive officer for the Duke University Health System. Dzau declined to say which external organization the University has hired, citing a confidentiality agreement between Duke and the organization. However, The Cancer Letter reported that National Cancer Institute Director Harold Varmus has contacted the Institute of Medicine to request that the organization lead the review of Potti’s findings.

Lange declined to say how the “issues of substantial concern” discovered in Potti’s resume escaped notice during the hiring process. In an interview with The (Durham) Herald-Sun, President Richard Brodhead said that Duke does not currently have plans to change its hiring process for faculty.

“[Potti’s] application was handled no differently than [that of] any other candidate,” Lange said.

Taylor Doherty contributed reporting.

The full text of the Duke News release is below:

When the Cancer Letter and other sources raised allegations of inaccuracies in Dr. Anil Potti’s curriculum vitae and research, Duke University immediately took the following actions:

1. A complete review of the credentials and claims Dr. Potti made in his CV and biosketches, to be led by Provost Peter Lange.

2. A research misconduct inquiry to be conducted as specified by Duke policies and Federal law; and

3. Efforts to facilitate the initiation of an independent, external investigation of the science in question by one of the country’s leading research bodies, to which Duke would supply any and all data and information, but would otherwise have no involvement.

The first part of the investigation — the review of credentials -- has now been completed. Issues of substantial concern were identified, and have resulted in corresponding sanctions. However, a final decision about Dr. Potti’s future status as a Duke employee and faculty member will also be informed by the results of the research misconduct inquiry and the independent external evaluation of the science. Until such time, he will remain on administrative leave from his research, teaching and clinical responsibilities.


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