Nov 8, 2017

Sean Parker: Immunotherapy is our opportunity to disrupt cancer

Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

Napster founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker cited immunotherapy as the "opportunity for disruption" in the fight against cancer and the catalyst for his $250 million philanthropic project, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, during an event with Axios' Mike Allen this afternoon.

Parker said that he founded the Parker Institute after realizing that there's a disconnect between cancer research and actually finding concrete cures, saying, "I learned that the field of academic science — or just academic science in general — the values are not necessarily aligned with medicine or in bringing treatments to patients…We also need this sense of urgency."

More from the conversation with Parker:

  • About the Parker Institute: "We have seven academic medical centers. We have — I don't even know how many, fifty plus — pharma partners and biotech partners…They're cumulatively seeing thirty-some percent of all cancer patents in the U.S….They're all sharing data with each other, they're all sharing their prepublication information." He added that it's a "first-generation attempt" to "cut down the barriers" for information sharing between these top institutions.
  • Why he got involved: "When you see this tremendous gap between what's possible, what the technology is enabling, and what's actually being done…that gap is your opportunity for disruption…That's what I saw with cancer immunotherapy specifically."
  • His vision of the future: "In the next 10 years, I think we're gonna cure a lot — not gonna cure all cancers — but I think we're gonna cure a lot of cancers."

Parker discussed his time developing Facebook and social media as we know today as an addictive tool: "It's a social vulnerability feedback loop. You're exploiting something in human psychology."

Go deeper: The Bidens discuss their part in the cancer moonshot.

Go deeper

Trump forces fateful choices on Twitter and Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's war with Twitter is confronting social media platforms with a hard dilemma: whether to take fuller responsibility for what people say on their services, or to step back and assume a more quasi-governmental role.

The big picture: Facebook is trying to be more like a government committing to impartiality and protecting free speech and building mechanisms for arbitration. Twitter, pushed by Trump's inflammatory messages, is opting to more aggressively enforce conduct rules on its private property, like a mall owner enforcing rules inside the gates.

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 5,851,494 — Total deaths: 362,238 — Total recoveries — 2,445,181Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,729,185 — Total deaths: 101,706 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  4. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  5. Transportation: National mobility keeps rising as more states reopen economies.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Saying goodbye to U.S. megacities.

Obama on George Floyd's death: "This shouldn't be 'normal'"

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ

Former President Obama said in a statement Friday that the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, "shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America."

What he's saying: "[W]e have to remember that for millions of Americans being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or watching birds in a park."