Researchers in Oklahoma are offering a $1,000 reward for the return of a stolen laptop which they claim contains a possible cure for prostate cancer.
Sook Shin and her husband, who work as cancer researchers at the Oklahoma University, decided to take a break from their work on Sunday to get some dinner. When they returned to their car they found it had been broken into and their Macbook had been stolen.
Unbeknownst to the thieves was that the device contains years of research into prostrate cancer, some of which can never be replicated, while others will take up to two years to redo.
Worse than that, the couple never made a backup of their data, which means that someone out there has the only copy of the valuable information, if it hasn’t been wiped already. Why researchers would fail to make a backup boggles the mind, considering how easily a laptop can be stolen or how often hard drive failures occur, but even the brightest minds in science can make a fatal mistake.
And it could indeed prove fatal for many, as 30,000 men die in the US every year from prostate cancer, making a possible cure all the more essential.
Shin told local reporters at News 9 that she feel so guilty about the loss of the data, while her husband, Ralf Jankecht, pleaded with the thieves to return the laptop with the data intact, saying that it would be doing a good deed for society as a whole.
If the device is returned a $1,000 reward is on offer, with “no questions asked”, which could be more than it’s worth on the black market. It remains to be seen if the thief hands it in or not.