Duke seeks IT fixes to research tampering after Potti probe

Duke University's medical school is taking action to prevent people from tampering with research data. A committee has blueprinted a plan to tackle the issue after the well-publicized fiasco involving former faculty member Dr. Anil Potti and his questionable data for a genomic test.

Potti was able to fool many of his colleagues with bogus data to support the validity of a genomics test to predict responses to chemotherapy. In an effort to stymie such activity, the committee has recommended the implementation of an IT system that could help preserve the integrity of data that is going to support the advancement of a treatment into clinical trials, the Duke Chronicle reported.

Duke officials are calling the solution a "virtual lockbox," which would track any changes to digital research data, showing what changes were made and who altered the data, according to the report. The school has not yet implemented the IT fix, which comes with other recommendations to improve the use of research data at Duke.

"What we're really looking for is an (IT) solution that will allow one to determine that the data that are being used to eventually lead to clinical trials are in fact the data obtained at the time of collection and that there haven't been changes that people are not aware of," Dr. Nancy Andrews, dean of the medical school, told the Duke newspaper.

Patients who participated in clinical trials for Potti's genomic test are suing Duke.

- get more in the Duke Chronicle article