After years of suspicions and allegations, the US Office of Research Integrity has found that former Duke University researcher Anil Potti engaged in research misconduct, Retraction Watch reports.
In 2010, the Cancer Letter found that Potti had claimed to be Rhodes scholar, something the Rhodes Trust denied, and this sparked a deeper dive into his credentials. Later that year, Potti and his colleagues retracted a Journal of Clinical Oncology paper because they were unable to replicate their results. A number of other retractions ensued, as did a lawsuit. The suit, brought by participants in a clinical trial based on Potti's work, alleged that Duke, Potti, and Potti's team had been repeatedly warned about problems in their work, and it was settled this year on undisclosed terms. Potti left Duke in 2010 and has been working in North Dakota, according to Retraction Watch.
In its new report in the Federal Register, the ORI says Potti fudged data in "published papers, submitted manuscript, grant application, and the research record.
In particular, it reports that he said in a grant application that six out of 33 patients responded to dasatinib, though only four patients were enrolled and none of them responded to the treatment; he changed the responder status of 24 out of 133 research participants for an adriamycin predictor in a paper submitted to Clinical Cancer Research; and he reported false data in nine journal articles, all of which have since been retracted.
According to ORI, Potti "neither admits nor denies ORI's findings." Though Potti has not sought federal research funding since 2010, if he does, he has agreed to have his research supervised for five years.
Duke tells Retraction Watch that it is "pleased" with these findings and hopes that it "will serve to fully absolve the clinicians and researchers who were unwittingly associated with his actions, and bring closure to others who were affected."