Napster co-founder to donate $250M to cancer research

Sean Parker is funding a new institute for cancer immunotherapy research.

By Kelley Forrester, Larry King Now

Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and the founding president of Facebook, has announced his involvement in cancer immunotherapy research. 

Parker is set to donate $250 million to form the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. According to Reuters, the Institute will combine over 300 researchers and 40 laboratories from six of the largest cancer centers across the United States. Researchers will focus on the rising field of cancer immunotherapy, a treatment which harnesses the body's immune system to fight cancer cells.

The treatment has gained attention since former president Jimmy Carter announced the success in his treatment of melanoma with immunotherapy. 

"Very little progress has been made over the last several decades. Average life expectancy has only increased three to six months with some of these drugs that cost billions to develop," Parker said, in reference to cancer drug research. 

"Any breakthrough made at one center is immediately available to another center without any kind of IP (intellectual property) entanglements or bureaucracy," Parker said. The Institute intends to make research discoveries more accessible to the top cancer centers and to combine forces to develop new treatments. 

Dr. Jedd Wolchok, chief of the melanoma and immunotherapeutics unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - one of the centers involved in the Parker Institute - said that he spends about a third of his time securing funding, which the Institute would eliminate the need for. 

"I have no doubt this will allow us to make progress, and to make it much more quickly," Wolchok said

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong explains his breakthrough system for rapid cancer diagnosis and treatment to Larry King. 

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