A woman who was a patient in a series of clinical trials called one of the biggest cases of medical fraud in history has spoken out about the devastation it wrought on her life.
Joyce Shoffner, one of eight plaintiffs on a lawsuit over the bogus research by former Duke University researcher Anil Potti, told TV affiliate WRAL she was, “nothing but a laboratory rat,” to justify research.
“We were all victims of human experimentation that you don’t expect to be happening in this day and age,” Shoffner reportedly told the TV station on Tuesday.
Shoffner is one of eight patients of Potti who sued the doctor and the school in 2011. Only Shoffner and one other plaintiff are still alive to see last month’s settlement with Duke University, according to Retraction Watch.
Potti told patients he had discovered a method to match patients’ breast-cancer tumors to the best chemotherapy to their particular cancer. Three clinical trials with patients were started. But Duke stopped the work in 2010, after it was discovered Potti had lied about his credentials, according to reports. Two papers published based on the clinical trials were retracted after a person involved admitted the results could not be replicated. The American Cancer Society also withdrew its funding, and Potti resigned from the North Carolina school.
The lawsuit by Shoffner and the other patients claimed that Duke and other affiliated people knew Pott’s work had been questioned prior to the trials.
Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
Shoffner told WRAL she is still checked for recurrence of her cancer – and has also been diagnosed with PTSD, because of her experience with Potti’s experiments.
“They had the end results set up. They just needed to make everything fit in with it,” Shoffner reportedly said.
Potti has retracted a total of 11 papers in his career, according to Retraction Watch. He currently works at a cancer center in North Dakota, according to the site.
“The Cancer Letter,” a weekly publication reporting cancer and drug news, published a story earlier this year saying that Duke officials were warned of Pott’s practices by a Duke medical study as early as 2008.