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Haifa Shen left Houston Methodist for China after retraction

"In October of this year, the scientist who closed the American laboratory, disposed of related assets in the United States, and returned to Shanghai with his wife to start a business, officially opened the mode of "wholeheartedly" returning to his country to start a business."

Haifa Shen, the nanofabricating cancer researcher who just retracted a paper, is still listed as principal investigator at Houston Methodist in Texas, but he is not even in USA anymore. Shen is actually back in China, having closed his US lab in October 2021, and now works as Chief Technical Officer for a Chinese biotech company.

Capture 12.12.2021. Even the lab members are still listed (archive).

I wrote about Shen before, in the context of his former collaborator: Mauro Ferrari, the grade-A bullshitter who, despite his history of spectacular failures and his association with the worst of fraudsters, somehow managed to get appointed as President of the European Research Council (ERC). Ferrari’s term as ERC president started on 1 January 2020 and ended on 7 April 2020, just 3 months into the job, with his resignation. It’s not like I didn’t warn ERC in time, but what do I know, right.

Prior to that, Ferrari has been let go by Houston Methodist where he used to hold the post of Vice-President. While there, the Italian bullshitter and Shen claimed to be able to cure cancer and other diseases with nanoparticles. They raised millions of dollars in funding for their trashy research, money which was denied to their honest peers. Money which obviously all went down the toilet, wasted on fraudulent science, as the recent retraction of a recent paper demonstrated for those still naively hopeful.

Here is that retracted paper, courtesy of Cheshire, Elisabeth Bik, Hoya camphorifolia and other sleuths. It promised a nanotechnology tool for oral drug delivery for drugs against diabetes and other diseases.

Zhenhua Hu, Sara Nizzero , Shreya Goel , Louis E. Hinkle , Xiaoyan Wu , Chao Li , Mauro Ferrari, Haifa Shen Molecular targeting of FATP4 transporter for oral delivery of therapeutic peptide Science Advances (2020) doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba0145

BIk: “The 1h and 8h set of organs look surprisingly similar, except for the amount of signal captured (shown with green boxes). Could the authors clarify if some of the mice had two sets of major organs, please?
Cloned nanoparticles!

A press release by Houston Methodist announced last year:

“The majority of small molecule drugs are prepared in tablets and given orally. But biological drugs, like those to treat diabetes, cannot sustain the harsh environment in the GI tract, which includes gastric fluids and digestive enzymes in the stomach. The only option has been intravenous infusion or injections, which are more costly than oral drugs and pose compliance challenges for many patients who struggle with inconvenient appointments and the high cost of treatment.

“This was just the first drug we tested. Our approach could be used to deliver many other biological drugs, such as human growth hormone and therapeutic antibodies,” said Shen.”

Dr Shen was busy saving lives, you see.

We were informed that Shen “designed the experiments, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript” while Ferrari “reviewed the manuscript“. And look at all this public money, from NIH and the Pentagon:

Funding: This work was partially supported by NIH grants R01CA193880, R01CA222959, and U54CA210181, U.S. Department of Defense grant W81XWH-17-1-0389, and an internal grant of Houston Methodist Research Institute. “

Original photo: Texas Medical Center.

And then, soon after the paper was published on April 1st (sic!) 2020 in Science Advances (journal impact factor of 16), it was retracted. Not because Science editors felt bothered, the PubPeer posts prompted an investigation at Houston Methodist, as the retraction notice from June 2020 declared (highlights mine):

“In the research article, “Molecular targeting of FATP4 transporter for oral delivery of therapeutic peptide” (1), we reported development of a chitosan nanoparticle-coated liposome for oral delivery of long-chain fatty acid (LCFA)-conjugated peptide drugs, promoting absorption through the FATP4 transporter. After publication, readers identified duplicated image regions in multiple figure panels. Alerted to these concerns, the corresponding author’s institution performed a review of the supporting data and research records and determined that the research was not performed according to expected standards and was not reliable. Therefore, we wish to retract this research article promptly. We apologize that these errors were not discovered before the manuscript was published. All of the authors have agreed the paper should be retracted, except Dr. Zhenhua Hu who did not respond to our communications.”

The news of the retraction were not important enough for Western academia, but in China it was reported. Until the totalitarian regime cracked down and had the news swiftly deleted, but here is a backup.

You may wonder, huh, what does the Chinese Communist Party care about protecting the reputation of an American professor, who turned his back on China for over 30 years already? Especially if this US citizen was publicly exposed as a research fraudster?

Shen’s (now deleted) profile at Weill Cornell

Quite simple: Shen is back in China now! Here hot news, published on 12 December 2021 (Google-translated):

“By closing the American laboratory and starting a business in Shanghai, Shen Haifa can finally end the state of “over-ocean screen chat” and feel the momentum of China’s rapid development on the ground. “I hope that the advanced mRNA platform will be more widely used in the research and development of drugs and a variety of vaccines, so that China’s innovative drugs can benefit the world.” Recently, Shen Haifa, a former Cornell University School of Medicine professor who has been engaged in drug research and development for nearly 30 years, has revealed a new identity ——As a co-founder, he joined a biotechnology company in Zhangjiang, Shanghai.

With the development of biomedicine, the research and development of mRNA therapy is entering a new round of outbreak. Shen Haifa was originally a professor of the Department of Nanomedicine at the Houston Methodist Hospital of Cornell University School of Medicine and the head of the Translational Medicine Department of the Hospital Cancer Center. In October of this year, the scientist who closed the American laboratory, disposed of related assets in the United States, and returned to Shanghai with his wife to start a business, officially opened the mode of “wholeheartedly” returning to his country to start a business.

Backup here

In fact, Shen, the patriot, has turned his back on America forever (even sold all his house and other possessions there), driven to help his native China conquer the mRNA market:

“Shen Haifa is the developer of LPP delivery technology, one of the two mainstream delivery technologies in the world. In short, LPP delivery technology enables mRNA drugs to have a three-dimensional core-shell structure, high immune recognition, strong safety, and good effectiveness. Its precise targeting function can greatly reduce toxic and side effects. […]

The scientist who has been engaged in drug research and development for nearly 30 years said that the increase in cancer patients, personalized cancer vaccines based on mRNA may improve this situation. However, how to make the drugs reach the target organs accurately and reduce the damage to healthy cells has always been a big problem in the academic circle. As a result, Shen Haifa, who has worked in American pharmaceutical companies for many years, became a researcher again, devoted himself to drug delivery research, and achieved a series of important results. In 2017, the LPP delivery technology it developed was exclusively authorized to be transferred to the innovative company-Siwei (Shanghai) Biotechnology Co., Ltd.

Over the years, Shen Haifa has not interrupted his “academic exchanges” with this high-tech biotechnology company in Zhangjiang, Shanghai, which he co-founded with Dr. Li Hangwen, a returnee. In October of this year, Shen Haifa returned to China as the company’s chief technology officer and head of the preparation research center.

The original intention to come back to start a business is very simple. It is to use mRNA platform technology to develop more effective drugs for the benefit of patients.” Shen Haifa hopes to lead the team to further research on various defensive and therapeutic vaccines and promote mRNA technology to tumors and Research and Development of drugs for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.”

Here is Shen at his new biotech industry job at Siwei (Shanghai) Biotechnology Co., internationally presented under the name StemiRNA:

It does look that not only did Houston Methodist part their ways with Shen, somehow Shen was also not available for the US job market after that institutional investigation and the retraction. So he suddenly discovered a Chinese nationalist inside himself and is now curing all possible diseases with his patented and perfectly trustworthy nanotechnology to the glory of the Chinese Communist Party.

To conclude, here more data forgeries.

Xiaoyan Wu , Zhenhua Hu , Sara Nizzero , Guodong Zhang , Maricela R. Ramirez , Ce Shi , Jin Zhou , Mauro Ferrari, Haifa Shen Bone-targeting nanoparticle to co-deliver decitabine and arsenic trioxide for effective therapy of myelodysplastic syndrome with low systemic toxicity Journal of controlled release (2017) doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2017.10.012

Cheshire:Images in Figure 6 appear to overlap (red boxes).

That fudged paper was funded with:

“The authors acknowledge financial support from the National Institute of Health grant 1R01CA193880-01A1, and U54CA210181 (MF), U.S. Department of Defense grant W81XWH-12-1-0414 (MF), the Ernest Cockrell Jr. Distinguished Endowed Chair fund (MF), and Dottie and Jimmy C. Adair Myelodysplastic Syndrome Treatment and Research Funding.”

Min Zhou, Jun Zhao, Mei Tian , Shaoli Song , Rui Zhang, Sanjay Gupta , Dongfeng Tan , Haifa Shen , Mauro Ferrari, Chun Li Radio-photothermal therapy mediated by a single compartment nanoplatform depletes tumor initiating cells and reduces lung metastasis in the orthotopic 4T1 breast tumor model Nanoscale (2015) doi: 10.1039/c5nr04587h

Cheshire: “Figure 5 appears to have two images which overlap.”
Chshire: “Figure 3c? I believe the animal in the control image may be the same animal in the RT/PTT image. Possibly different images of the same animal.

Cash embezzled here:

“This work was supported by John S. Dunn Research Foundation, National Cancer Institute Grant U54CA151668, and DoD Breast Cancer Innovator Award W81XWH-09-1-0212 (MF)”

Finally, one with fellow Houston-based crooks, Anil Sood and Gabriel Lopez-Berestein:

Cristian Rodriguez-Aguayo , Emine Bayraktar , Cristina Ivan , Burcu Aslan , Junhua Mai , Guangan He , Lingegowda S. Mangala , Dahai Jiang , Archana S. Nagaraja , Bulent Ozpolat , Arturo Chavez-Reyes , Mauro Ferrari , Rahul Mitra , Zahid H. Siddik , Haifa Shen , Xianbin Yang , Anil K. Sood, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein PTGER3 induces ovary tumorigenesis and confers resistance to cisplatin therapy through up-regulation Ras-MAPK/Erk-ETS1-ELK1/CFTR1 axis EBioMedicine (2019) doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2018.11.045

Unlike Shen at Houston Methodist, Sood is perfectly safe at MD Anderson. Not only he won’t be ever sacked or sent back, or even made to retract a single paper, Sood was recently awarded with Academy membership at the US national Academy of Medicine.

This is the Academy’s announcement:

Anil Kumar Sood, MD, FACOG, FACS, professor and vice chair for translational research, department of gynecologic oncology and reproductive medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. For discovering the mechanistic basis of chronic stress on cancer and the pivotal role of tumor-IL6 in causing paraneoplastic thrombocytosis; developing the first RNAi therapeutics and translating multiple new drugs from lab to clinic; and devising and implementing a paradigm shifting surgical algorithm for advanced ovarian cancer, dramatically increasing complete resection rates.

Sood has over 50 papers on PubPeer.

But Shen’s employment was not with America’s biggest cancer fraud factory MD Anderson, but with Houston Methodist. Send warm thoughts to Shanghai.

Thanks to Tiger BB8 for the information

5 comments on “Haifa Shen left Houston Methodist for China after retraction

  1. It is not a graceful way to link all the things to CPC.


  2. Crucially, this Chinese company(stemira) is also with questionable data.
    Moreover, their core patent comes from Professor Shen’s invention.


  3. shame on reviewers shame on funding agents.
    The fabrications were so obvious. They didn’t even bother making efforts in hiding the fabrications.
    Ruin true scientist spirits.


  4. company man

    i see dr. shen has a registered company in texas called immunoQ with some chinese partners

    they now got a small business grant from national cancer institute

    PI is current faculty at houston methodist with many other grants



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