The Economist posted an article online this weekend about the scandal over irreproducible cancer research by Anil Potti. My colleagues Keith Baggerly and Kevin Coombes have been crying foul about this since 2007. I first blogged about it in January 2008.
The story started getting widespread attention last summer when the Cancer Letter reported that Dr. Potti had lied on grant applications. Since then there have been articles in the popular press, and people are staring to file lawsuits.
Apparently the tipping point in the story was finding a fib on Potti’s resume. According to The Economist
He falsely claimed to have been a Rhodes Scholar in Australia (a curious claim in any case, since Rhodes scholars only attend Oxford University).
So what finally got people to pay attention was not accusations of incompetent or fraudulent science, but résumé padding. As Keith Baggerly commented,
I find it ironic that we have been yelling for three years about the science, which has the potential to be very damaging to patients, but that was not what has started things rolling.