Researcher Steals Cancer Data?

A Chinese researcher in Wisconsin is accused of taking an experimental anti-cancer compound and research data to a university in China.  

By | April 4, 2013

The Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer CenterWIKIMEDIA, DBKOVACHProsecutors have charged a Chinese researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCOW) with stealing a potential anti-cancer compound and related data for a Chinese University, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS).

Huajun Zhao, an associate researcher in Marshall Anderson’s lab at MCOW, faces a single count of economic espionage, for which he could be fined a maximum of $5 million and sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison.

According to a statement (dated March 29) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), security video shows that Zhao was the last person seen entering an office where Anderson had left several vials of C-25, a putative cancer-fighting compound, before they went missing and were later reported stolen.

The FBI statement reports that Zhao “may have used his employment and position at MCOW to illegally acquire patented research material and taken steps to provide that material to Zhejiang University, a university in China.” MCOW officials have also accused Zhao of copying research data without permission from Anderson’s computer and deleting shared data from an MCOW computer, reported ScienceInsider.

Zhao was suspended from MCOW on February 27, and has since taken up a position as associate professor at Zhejiang University, according the MJS.

Zhao has denied the charges. His attorney, Juval Scott, told the MJS that this is a “complex case involving a talented professional accused of a serious crime, [and] we look forward to rolling up our sleeves on Dr. Zhao’s behalf."

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Avatar of: LP


Posts: 1

April 4, 2013

They prefer MCW.  The Medical College of Wisconsin hasn't used MCOW for quite some time.  And Zhao is not in China - he's in jail.

Avatar of: Paul R Walsh

Paul R Walsh

Posts: 8

April 4, 2013

As "LP" said, Zhao appears to be in jail.   According to the Huffington Post article of April 2,  Zhao went to China in December, returned in February, and has been in the USA since.  Huffington says,

"Zhao traveled to China in December. Since his return in mid-February, he has claimed on his resume that he's an assistant professor at Zhejiang University...

"Anderson noticed the vials missing on Feb. 22....

"Zhao was arrested March 29 and charged with economic espionage, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. A judge on Monday ordered him held at Milwaukee County Jail until trial. No trial date has been set but a preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 11."

I'm glad to hear that Zhao in jail.

Avatar of: xiaoxiaoniao


Posts: 1

August 21, 2013

As his court record , “There is no evidence that the defendant was attempting to commit fraud or to profit from his conduct in this case. Nor is there any evidence demonstrating that the defendant intended to cause any loss to the victim or to anyone else. It appears that the defendant was trying to protect data which he helped compile relating to cancer research. Additionally, he has in effect served a sentence during the course of this case by virtue of his detention over the last 4 plus months. Moreover, the defendant has expressed genuine remorse for his conduct and the likelihood of recidivism is extremely low. ”

Avatar of: Huajun Zhao

Huajun Zhao

Posts: 1

November 17, 2013

1. No reliance can be placed on MCW’s evidence.

(1) On February 22, 2013, I was summoned to a meeting with the 76-year-old full professor MA and MCW officials because of my lengthy absence. They set a schedule for me to finish my first authored manuscript about C25 before March 15, 2013. Sometime that same day, MA misplaced three pill bottle sized container s of C25 (actually only two bottles of C-25). On February 25, 2013, MCW officials sent an email to MCW employees reporting that MA had misplaced the bottles of C-25, indicating that MA believed he had left the pill bottles  in a conference room. But later MA told MCW security that he put the compound in his office. So strange!

(2) MA thought  that C-25 would be damaged because I stored it at below zero for long-term storage. Such a funniest joke!

(3) I posted a question for  troubleshooting on researchgate, "We found a novel compound......", MA thought I  offended his trade secret about C-25. So funny!

(4) I didn’t apply for any Chinese fund about C-25. I only had an idea that I would do  further research of C-25 after we published my first author paper about C-25 and also MA retired.

(5) There was no evidence that MCW had a patent of C-25. And also, MA didn’t apply for any grant of C-25.

2. Substantially, MCW and MA attempted to deprive me of my credit and contribution.

(1) February 27, 2013, MCW officials took my personal laptop and external drive and other personal property  from me without my willing and I was suspended. On the evening of that same day, I thought that MCW officials’ action was illegal and was afraid of losing my own data including MA lab’s and my former lab’s. Also, Somebody told me that my laptop was still on my desk.  So, I returned the lab. But I found that my personal property was gone,  later, I found a flash drive to make a copy from my lab computer to protect my own data. This is so called “ accessing information without authorization from a protected computer”. Have to do like this for being released.

(2) All research data was produced by myself. What I deleted was a old copy of my experimental data from my lab computer. So called "MCOW computer" and "protected computer"  were my lab computer.

3. On April 1,2013, I appeared again before Magistrate Judge Gorence and was ordered detained based on the risk of flight because I was a Chinese. No bail!

4. And also, in the first two weeks, jail officials deprived me  of my correspondence right.

Avatar of: DanielFreeman


Posts: 1

January 27, 2016

This fact proves that information in modern world has the highest value and often knowledge can make you really powerful. 

Everything went into the Web in addition to the existing physical global challenges in business. I heard that one of the latest innovations is moving to virtual data rooms - cloud-based security-protected repositories.

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