Sean Parker Just Made 'Unprecedented' $250M Cancer Move

New institute will bring together leading research centers
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2016 6:49 AM CDT
Sean Parker Just Made 'Unprecedented' $250M Cancer Move
Sean Parker is giving $250 million to six cancer centers.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Big news in cancer research Wednesday: Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and a co-founder of Facebook, is giving $250 million to six leading cancer centers so they can collaborate on immunotherapy in what Fortune calls "unprecedented" fashion. The nitty gritty:

  • The new Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will bring together about 300 scientists and 40 labs at the six centers, including Memorial Sloan Kettering and Stanford. The AP has more basics.
  • The idea is to fund "high-risk best ideas that may not get funded by the government," Jeffrey Bluestone, who will lead the institute, tells USA Today.

  • This is the biggest donation ever for immunotherapy and one of the biggest for cancer, period, but a post at MIT Technology Review takes a look at why "Parker's money alone won't defeat cancer."
  • One of Parker's big ideas is that the institute itself will manage the patents and negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry to bring therapies to market, while the centers themselves will retain the intellectual property, reports the Washington Post.
  • Immunotherapy involves harnessing the body's own immune system to fight cancer cells, and "it's hard to overstate how hot" the field is right now, reports Wired.
  • SFGate explains why immunotherapy is a personal issue for the 36-year-old Parker, who has long suffered food allergies and asthma.
  • Parker's net worth is estimated to be $2.4 billion, reports the New York Times.
(More Sean Parker stories.)

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