Tech mogul Sean Parker is giving a huge boost to the so-called cancer "moonshot." The Napster co-founder and first president of Facebook announced Wednesday that he is donating $250 million to support immunotherapy research to fight cancer.
Last June, the billionaire launched the Parker Foundation with a $600 million donation and the goal of creating large-scale systemic change across multiple fields, reports CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers. His donations have backed research into everything from allergies to cancer.
"I'm fundamentally interested in the science of immunotherapy and that's actually what gets me going," Parker said at the Cancer Research Institute awards gala in 2013, where he received an award.
Immunotherapy uses the body's immune system to attack cancer cells. The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will bring together six top academic cancer centers: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York; Stanford Medicine; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Francisco; University of Pennsylvania; and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. They will collaborate to get treatment to patients sooner.
"We find ourselves here, tonight, at the epicenter of a movement in cancer research that I think many of us believe actually has the best chance of eradicating cancer once and for all," Parker said at the gala, also touching on the need for more teamwork among scientists.
"The amount of collaboration and information sharing has been, sadly, very limited," he said.
Cancer research has been a major goal of the Obama administration since January's State of the Union address. President Obama tasked Vice President Joe Biden with leading the country's fight against the disease after the vice president's son, Beau, died from brain cancer.
"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," Mr. Obama said in his State of the Union speech.
Parker's influx of funding comes on the heels of one of the most prominent success cases of immunotherapy: 91-year-old former President Jimmy Carter's cancer is now in remission. Parker's hope is to make such treatments available to more cancer patients.