Duke Cancer Trials

A group of Duke University Medical Center patients learned in 2010 and 2011 that their breast and lung cancer treatments were based on the flawed research of Dr. Anil Potti, a discredited Duke associate professor who resigned after his work and credentials came under scrutiny.

Questionable Treatment

The underlying science of Dr. Potti’s studies was called into question by independent cancer organizations and agencies after it was discovered that he embellished his credentials, including his claim to have been a Rhodes Scholar.

According to a communication from Dr. Victor J. Dzau, CEO and Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University Health System, “A research misconduct investigation is proceeding and several of the pivotal scientific papers related to this work have now been retracted from the medical literature.”

Clinical Trials Continued

Duke missed opportunities to take quick action once Dr. Potti’s research was questioned, despite Dr. Potti’s research being discredited.

Keith Baggerly and Kevin Coombes, biostatisticians at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, first voiced their concerns in 2006 when they learned the Duke clinical trials were taking place. The two attempted to alert officials, but it was not until 2009 that Duke stopped the trials. Unfortunately, patients at Duke had already started receiving the treatment.

Duke officials then decided to restart the trials in January 2010, only to stop once again—for the last time—in July 2010. Dr. Michael Cuffe, Vice President for Medical Affairs at Duke commented on the trials, saying “These trials should not have been done. It’s clear additional steps need to be taken. We owe it to patients.”

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