The Potti / Nevins case is probably the most famous scientific fraud case, although probably less known outside biostatistics and cancer communities. Today I heard for the first time Keith Baggerly’s talk on the Potti / Nevins case. It was entertaining and scary at the same time, and I would urge everyone to watch his video if you haven’t heard his talk before. I was surprised that Potti / Nevins seriously thought they could get away with this. At the same time, I was shocked at how inefficient our scientific system is at exposing their fraud.
It is hard to imagine that Baggerly and Coombes spent 7 years investigating this case and became famous for being the whistle blowers. However, without them, there will be many cancer patients who could be harmed by the clinical trials at Duke that had no scientific basis. It really underlines the importance of scientific integrity and reproducible research.
More information about the Potti scandal can be found here.