Researcher allegedly stole cancer data for China

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MILWAUKEE -- A researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin is charged with espionage after prosecutors say he stole a possible cancer-fighting compound with the intention of studying it in China.

Prosecutors said Hua Jun Zhao stole the compound and research data.

A federal complaint said investigators found 384 items related to research into the compound on Zhao's computer. Authorities also found a grant application in Mandarin in which Zhao said he discovered the compound and requested Chinese funding to continue research.

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Zhao, 42, is charged with economic espionage, which carries a maximum 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Public defender Juval Scott said yesterday "a talented professional has been accused of a serious crime." A spokeswoman for the Milwaukee-based medical school said the compound hasn't advanced out of the laboratory-testing phase. -- AP

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