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Potti Goes to Court

The trial of Anil Potti, the disgraced former Duke University researcher, is set to begin today, reports the Triangle Business Journal.

Potti and his colleagues, including his mentor Joseph Nevins, had reported in the mid- to late-2000s that they could use gene expression testing to guide cancer treatment, and this set off a series of clinical trials, the Cancer Letter adds. However, the basis of this work was eventually discredited and a flurry of papers was then retracted. According to Retraction Watch, Potti has amassed about a dozen retractions and half a dozen corrections, and resigned from Duke in 2010.

In 2011, clinical trial patients or their estates sued Potti, Nevins, Duke, and others. According to the Triangle Business Journal, the plaintiffs wrote in their original complaint that they were bringing the suit because of their "participation, under false pretenses, in a fraudulent clinical trial, exposure to improper and unnecessary chemotherapy, and improper treatment of the plaintiffs' cancers based upon falsified medical research submitted to the United States government and its entities, various peer reviewed medical and scientific journals and to the wider public."

Since then, the Triangle Business Journal adds that additional information has come to light, suggesting that Duke had been alerted to concerns regarding Potti's work in 2008 by a letter from medical student working in the lab. The Cancer Letter notes that the letter "does not seem to have been given any credence at the time," but that it "described with precision the problems that eventually resulted in the termination of clinical trials and the subsequent retractions."

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