AP NEWS

Florida cancer center officials resign over China ties

December 19, 2019 GMT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The CEO, a vice president and four researchers abruptly resigned their positions at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center on Wednesday over a controversy that linked them to possible exploitation of American-funded research by China.

Dr. Alan List, the CEO and president of the center, resigned under pressure, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The departures came during a time of heightened scrutiny by federal officials of foreign attempts to take advantage of American-backed medical research.

The National Institutes of Health, one of the world’s largest funding sources for medical research, is among the investigating agencies.

The center’s internal compliance office began investigating last summer and found several “compliance violations” in the hospital’s partnership with China, the newspaper reported. Most were linked to employees’ personal involvement in China’s “Thousand Talents” program, which recruits researchers and experts from American and European universities and companies.

List, Vice President Thomas Sellers and others were found to have violated conflict of interest rules through their work in China, officials said.

“Our compliance team spent countless ours reviewing the findings of the investigation in this unfortunate circumstance,” said Timothy McAdams, Moffitt’s board chairman, who has assumed operational duties at the center.

A nationwide search is underway for a new CEO.