publication date: Dec. 20, 2019

Moffitt CEO Alan List, director Thomas Sellers resign over conflicts of interests involving China

By Matthew Bin Han Ong

Thomas Sellers, director of Moffitt Cancer Center, and Alan List, president and CEO of the center, stepped down Dec. 18 after an internal review revealed that they violated “conflict of interest rules through their work in China,” cancer center officials said.

The details of their alleged COIs are not publicly available at this time, and if Sellers and List were directly involved with China’s “Thousand Talents” Program, which recruits researchers and academics globally, their exact roles are not known. The internal review at Moffitt also prompted “separation” of another four researchers who were also found to not be in compliance with the center’s policies, officials said.

“We found evidence that people were compensated through the Thousand Talents Program and failed to disclose that,” the cancer center said in a statement to The Cancer Letter.

NCI Director Ned Sharpless convened a conference call Dec. 20 with the directors of all 71 NCI-designated cancer centers. On the call, Sharpless reiterated the need for full compliance with long-standing NIH policies related to conflicts of commitment, financial conflicts of interest, duplications of research, and diversion of intellectual property. 

“These incidents are not unique to one organization. I encourage all cancer center directors to assume personal ownership of these matters and to maintain vigilant oversight within their institutions to uphold the integrity of cancer research and good stewardship of tax payer dollars,” Sharpless said on the call.

In his remarks, Sharpless commended the compliance office at Moffitt for identifying and reporting the violations to NIH, and focused on the need to continue to work closely with NCI and the NIH Office of Extramural Research … Continue reading Moffitt CEO Alan List, director Thomas Sellers resign over conflicts of interests involving China

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