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University silenced student’s concerns about research, memo suggests

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 23 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h326
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1 The BMJ

New claims that senior staff at Duke University in North Carolina urged a medical student not to blow the whistle on flawed research by the oncologist Anil Potti in 2008 have emerged on the eve of a court hearing for a lawsuit brought by patients enrolled in Potti’s clinical trials.1

Potti resigned in November 2010, and the lawsuit, filed in 2011, alleged that patients with lung and breast cancer were enrolled in “fraudulent” clinical trials that were based on flawed research and that the patients were exposed to unnecessary and harmful chemotherapy.2 The trials, which began in 2007 and 2008, were not suspended until July 2010 and were terminated a few months later.

The Cancer Letter, a weekly national subscription online newsletter on cancer research, has published a three page memo headed “Research Concerns,” written in April 2008 by Bradford Perez, then a third year medical student in Potti’s laboratory and now a resident at Duke. The memo and emails showing that Duke administrators were aware of Perez’s concerns have surfaced in the lawsuit, which is due to go to trial on 26 January.

Scientists at …

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