Tainted doctor working in S.C.
A former cancer researcher who resigned from Duke University after questions arose about his resume and research results is practicing at clinics in the Myrtle Beach area.
Dr. Anil Potti's story was featured Sunday during a broadcast of the CBS news show "60 Minutes."
The segment, headlined "Deception at Duke," was a continuation of the media and medical scrutiny that drove the oncologist from the school in 2010.
In the report, Potti's cancer investigation claims weren't only described as a failure, but also as possibly "being one of the biggest medical research frauds ever," the program said.
Messages left for Potti at the Myrtle Beach-based Coastal Cancer Center, where he now is employed, were not returned.
Staff members who answered the phones at two of the center's clinics said Potti had a busy schedule of patients to see Wednesday and appeared to have "shrugged-off" Sunday's report.
Potti's story has been chronicled for some time, covered by North Carolina media, medical periodicals and The New York Times. His downfall is traced to two events, including a claim to be a Rhodes Scholar, later proven false, and other resume embellishments.
A larger investigation centered on the scientific integrity of his cancer-treatment research. It focused on the possibility of physicians using information about a patient's genetic makeup to help decide the best course of treatment. But after major errors were detected in his findings, it led to retractions of a number of scientific research papers, the return of grant money by Duke, and complaints filed by patients involved in clinical trials that were supervised by Potti, the Herald-Sun of North Carolina reported.
Potti resigned from Duke in late 2010, voluntarily leaving his positions as associate professor of medicine and at the university's Institute for Genome Science & Policy, according to the school. He later was given a reprimand by the North Carolina Medical Board, which found him to be guilty of "unprofessional conduct" while working at Duke.
In January 2011, Potti filed an application for a license to practice medicine in South Carolina, receiving his approval in April 2011.
While Potti has rarely spoken to the media in recent times, a copy of his South Carolina license application, obtained by The Post and Courier, said he wanted to work at an in-need area of the state.
"I was born to poor parents in a (sic) under-served community in India," he wrote. "When I was transitioning from my academic position into private practice, I was very attracted to the community in Loris, S.C., (and) their health care system.
"There appeared an opportunity for me and my family to return to a community that we would enjoy and hopefully help serve."
Included in the application were letters of reference and recommendation, and a note from Potti explaining some of the controversies in his past.
The Rhodes Scholar resume claim was a miscue, he said, explaining that he had once been nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship from the "Australian Board."
"To be honest, coming from India, I did not know that this was not the real Rhodes Scholarship," he explained on one portion of the letter.
He added later, "I am now very much looking forward to completely dedicating myself solely to patient care and diligently pursuing the reason I went to medical school in the first place -- to provide empathetic care and help people."
Lesia Kudelka, spokesperson for the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation in Columbia, said that to date there have been no disciplines filed against Potti in South Carolina and his license is in good standing.