The Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment
The colleagues in medical field called it a leap forward in the cancer treatment after a student of the Duke University, Anil Potti, presented the data proving that it was possible to predicted lung cancer at early stages with the help of genomic technology. With this new technology it could become possible to define survival chances too. In 2006-2007 this good news spread all over the world. Anil Potti published some facts about his invention in many articles, and in the respected edition as well, such as “The Economist” where a profound explanation was given, saying that chemotherapy was not a panacea because a patient could die either of the side effects of the chemotherapy or chemotherapy itself that could kill a patient. So, to choose the right type of chemotherapy is a big deal and with Anil Potti’s genomic “fingerprints” it could become possible. So, the invention was published in the prestigious edition “Nature Medicine” and in many more.
The Reverse of the Coin
The medical research inquiry division The Office of Research Integrity investigated the case and declared that the invention was false. After a thorough research, the inspectors came to the conclusion that in the trial there were only 4 patients and they didn’t show positive results to the tested material while Mr. Potti claimed there were 6 out of 33 patients who responded favorably. The false data were published in the famous and reputable editions such as New England Journal, The Journal of the American Medical Association and Lancet Oncology and others.
In 2011 the Duke University revealed that the results of Anil Potti’s invention were flawed and he resigned. There was a lawsuit that university had to settle and Mr.Potti got 2 reprimands from Missouri and North Carolina medical boards. The judicial decision laid in the constant supervision over any research made by Potti using federal funds for 5 years, and any institution that hired him had to conclude that any Potti’s research was true, based on experiments and legitimate.
An Unexpected Turn
Previously before the scandal, the third-year student Bradford Perez sent a three-page document to the University of Duke grounding and warning the deans about Potti’s false research. So, instead of making some conclusions, the university officials pressed Perez for not talking about the case further and continued to use his invention for advertising.
Another Falsified Research
The Potti’s case was not the only one. In 2011 Diederick Stapel, a social psychologist from the Netherlands claimed that people who besiege themselves with litter and abandoned objects are narrow-minded. Maybe it is really so but there is no evidence proving that. When Diederick was asked to provide the data, he confesses that he does not have any.
There also was the case when one scientist committed suicide on the wave of false inventions disclosure.
Only a small percent of scientists really admit that they may “toy” with data and present them improperly. The reason for that is that is the scientists publish around 2 mln articles a year. Anyway, that is not an excuse to publish false data and the Office of Research Integrity and Department of Health and Human Services sanctioned a dozen of scientists on plagiarism and fabrication.