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And Again

When it comes to retractions, former Duke University researcher Anil Potti is the gift that keeps on giving.

As fans of scientific malfeasance no doubt recall, Potti left Duke in 2010 amidst allegations that he had manipulated data in several lung cancer biomarker studies. Duke suspended Potti (who has since taken a job at the Cancer Center of North Dakota) along with clinical trials stemming from his research.

Potti and his colleagues also retracted a 2007 paper on these studies they published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

And the retractions didn't stop there. According to Retraction Watch's Ivan Oransky, there have been 10 retractions, one partial retraction, and seven corrections of Potti's research over the years. And, he writes, this month brings yet another retraction, this one of a 2008 abstract in Chest.

In his discussion of the retraction notice, Oransky highlights one particularly curious passage:

"The authors relied on the results reported by Potti, and they were not aware of the errors subsequently reported."

Of course, as Oransky notes, Potti himself was one of the authors, which raises the question of how, exactly, they could have been unaware of the questionable data underlying the work.

Maybe he just forgot to tell them? After all, if we were Potti, we probably wouldn't want to remember that stuff either.