Indian-American researcher put on leave

An Indian-American cancer researcher at Duke University has been placed on administrative leave.

Last Updated: Jul 21, 2010, 11:02 AM IST

Washington: An Indian-American cancer
researcher at the prestigious Duke University has been placed
on administrative leave after investigations revealed that he
had made false claims that he had won several awards,
including the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

The discrepancy revealed in an investigative article
in The Cancer Letter said that in his grant application to
National Institute of Health, Duke Oncologist and genomics
researcher Anil Potti claimed to have won the prestigious
Rhodes scholarship.

"Duke is aware of the allegations raised in the
article regarding Dr. Potti and has instituted a formal
internal investigation," the Duke University spokesman Douglas
Stokke said.

"Dr. Potti has been placed on administrative leave
pending the outcome of the investigation," he said.

As a result, the three trials being conducted by
Potti have been suspended by the Duke University.

"In this new light, the investigators of three
clinical trials... elected to suspend enrollment of new study
subjects... until a full review of the underlying data and a
re-review of the science can be completed," Stokke said.

Potti`s research involved a genetic test that he
claimed could predict who might respond well to certain cancer
drugs; the trials were testing that approach, reported
Lexington Herald Leader.

Potti is receiving more than USD 600,000 through two
federal cancer research grants from NIH.

He is also in the middle of a five-year lung cancer
study for which he is receiving USD 729,000 from the American
Cancer Society, which has suspended payments to his grant
pending its own investigation.

"We are profoundly concerned to learn that a Duke
University researcher made claims about his credentials in
applications to the American Cancer Society and others that
may not be true," said Otis W Brawley, the American Cancer
Society`s chief medical officer.

According to a brief bio posted in the University
website, Potti, is an Associate Professor in Department of
Medicine and IGSP.

He received his MD degree from Christian Medical
College, Vellore.

After completing an internal medicine residency and
fellowship training in Hematology and medical oncology, most
recently he was a fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph
Nevins at Duke where he was involved in peripheral blood
profiling and the development of genomic strategies to improve
prognosis and treatment, with specific relevance to lung
cancer.

PTI