Making strides to fight cancer, Facebook co-founder Sean Parker announced that he is donating a pretty penny to fund research at several hospitals around the country.
The Napster founder made his official announcement of his donation today (April 13) and said that he is donating $250 million to six cancer immunotherapy research centers.
He will also establish the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco, CA to focus on fighting cancer cells by charging up the body’s natural immune system’s ability to destroy these killers. This method of cancer treatment was made more public after former President Jimmy Carter successfully battled his melanoma. He has been in remission since December.
According to reports, Parker decided to donate to this type of therapy because it is at a turning point. He believes his generous contribution will make strides to improve this technology and help this cancer treatment become more mainstream.
His center will support “high risk best ideas that may not get funded by the government,” according to Jeffrey Bluestone, an immunologist and former University of California, San Francisco official leading Parker’s institute.
In addition, his goal is to improve upon the “slow progress” in improving cancer survival rates. Cancer Immunotherapy is only approved “as a treatment of last resort,” Parker told USA Today. The problem, he adds, is that it’s used after patients’ immune systems are damaged by chemotherapy and radiation
“I want to make it a front-line treatment,” added Parker. “It would change the whole cost of care downstream.”
Parker’s donation marks the largest ever for cancer immunotherapy. In fact, it’s one of the largest ever recorded for cancer research. According to the publication, Daniel Ludwig donated $540 million to six cancer centers in 2014 and Nike co-founder Phil Knight pledged $500 million to cancer researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in 2013.
This news comes a few months after President Barack Obama called for a “moonshot” to cure cancer in his final State of the Union address. Parker’s donation accounts for a quarter of the money suggested for this research.
“For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families that we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all,” President Obama said in his State of the Union speech.
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