HOUSTON — The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center cut ties with three scientists accused of sharing important research and data with China. 

It's part of a bigger concern at the National Institutes of Health as it works to protect biomedical research in the United States.

All three of the scientists were tenured faculty members at MD Anderson. Two of them resigned ahead of being fired, while the termination process against the other is ongoing, according to an MD Anderson spokesperson. 

The cancer center is addressing threats to its intellectual property and data security, responding to wide-ranging concerns by the NIH.

MD Anderson released a statement Friday saying there were three areas of concern: diversion of intellectual property, sharing of confidential information on grant applications and failure by some researchers to disclose substantial resources from outside organizations, including foreign entities, which threatens to distort decisions about appropriate use of NIH funds. 

The NIH has requested information from MD Anderson about a variety of threats, the cancer center statement said. 

Dr. Peter WT Pisters, president of MD Anderson, said the cancer center is committed to maintaining extraordinary levels of public trust, especially considering it takes in taxpayer and donated funds for innovative research. 

MD Anderson said no patient information was accessed or shared. 

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