by Abraham Adegoke


Humanity’s fight against cancer has just received a major boost.

Sean Parker, Napster founder and former Facebook president, will donate $250 million to launch a Cancer Immunotherapy Institute.

Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster Inc. and managing partner of the Founders Fund, listens during a television interview on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. The 42nd annual meeting of the World Economic Forum will be attended by about 2,600 political, business and financial leaders at the five-day conference. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy is aimed at developing more effective cancer treatments through collaborations among leading researchers in the field.

Parker revealed this in an interview with Reuters news agency.

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The institute whose focus will be on the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy, will include over 40 laboratories and more than 300 researchers from six key cancer centres including New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering, Stanford Medicine, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, San Francisco, Houston’s University of Texas MD Anderson and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

“Any breakthrough made at one center is immediately available to another center without any kind of IP (intellectual property) entanglements or bureaucracy,” Parker, the $3 billion dollar worth billionaire, told Reuters.

According to Reuters, recently approved drugs have helped some patients sustain remission. But those first-generation therapies do not work for everyone, and scientists are trying to understand how to make them more effective.

Parker said the last several decades have seen very little progress made in cancer drug research.

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“Average life expectancy has only increased three to six months with some of these drugs that cost billions to develop.”

Dr. Jedd Wolchok, chief of the melanoma and immunotherapeutics unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has described the new institute as “paradigm shifting”.

According to him, the insitute will alleviate the need for scientists to secure grants, an exercise which took up at least 30 percent of his time.

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



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