Winner 2012

Deception at Duke

CBS News, 60 Minutes

In 2007, Duke University trumpeted its discovery of the “holy grail” of cancer research: a technique for matching chemotherapy with each patient’s unique genetic makeup. The treatment turned out to be not only a failure but also, as a seven-month 60 Minutes investigation found, one of the biggest medical-research frauds ever perpetrated. Duke was so certain of Dr. Anil Potti’s research, the university featured him in TV commercials touting his breakthrough (“Genomics will revolutionize cancer therapy”). But as other scientists studying his data came to suspect –- and 60 Minutes subsequently documented –- results of the clinical trials were falsified when they didn’t jibe with Potti’s theories. The report is particularly wrenching because more than 100 cancer patients volunteered for the trials, putting their fates in the hands of a prestigious university and one of its rising-star researchers. Scott Pelley interviews one patient’s widower. “We felt that he was going to give us a chance,” says Walter Jacobs, now part of a law suit on behalf of his wife, who died three months after entering the trial. For confirming and clarifying an outrageous, tragic medical-research fraud, Deception at Duke receives a Peabody Award.


Executive Producer: Jeff Fager. Executive Editor: Bill Owens. Senior Producer: Michael Radutzky. Correspondent: Scott Pelley. Producer: Kyra Darnton. Editor: Matt Richman. Associate Producer: Sam Hornblower.