Indian American geneticist's US patent application rebuffed for falsifying CV

Durham (California, US), Sept.8 (ANI): Indian American cancer geneticist Dr. Anil Potti's application for a US patent has been rejected, as he is under scrutiny for falsifying his CV and there are also doubts over the data included in his research papers.

Potti, of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is currently under internal investigation for possible misconduct after an inquiry into claims that he padded his CV found unspecified "issues of substantial concern". An external review of his published science is also planned.

Potti was part of a group that found correlations between the expression of certain genes in cancer cell lines and the cells' sensitivity to a variety of cancer drugs. The result, published in Nature Medicine in 20061, led Duke to launch three clinical trials in which the group's technique was used to select treatments for cancer patients.

The university however, has suspended the trials after The Cancer Letter published allegations on 16 July that Potti had inflated his credentials falsely.

Kevin Coombes and Keith Baggerly, biostatisticians at the University of Texas in Houston, who in 2009 reported that they had been unable to replicate some of Potti and his colleagues' claims, have also challenged the science behind the trials.

A patent application that included data from the Nature Medicine paper, published with the application number US20070172844, was rejected in 2009. It does not list Potti as a co-inventor, but does name his co-authors Johnathan Lancaster, an oncologist at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and Joseph Nevins, a cancer geneticist at Duke.

Patent examiner Carla Myers wrote in a final rejection: "Sufficient information has not been provided regarding the gene expression profiles".

A second patent application, published as US20090105167 and including Potti as co-inventor, was rejected partly because the co-inventors did not provide the DNA sequences, called probe sets, that they used on their micro-array chips to detect gene activity, wrote Sean Aeder, the examiner.

Several bio-statisticians contacted said they could not think of any reason for withholding such information, because their manufacturer Affymetrix, based in Santa Clara, California, has made the sequences from which probe sets are assembled public. (ANI)

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