Can Silicon Valley remedy cancer? Napster founder Sean Parker says yes

62
Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 5:28 PM

Bill Gates and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong know a few things about how to spend a lot of money to disrupt mainstream research while searching for cures in medicine.

Can Silicon Valley remedy cancer? Napster founder Sean Parker says yes

Silicon Valley thrives on disrupting the traditional ways we do many things: education, consuming music and other media, communicate with others, even how we stay healthy. Bill Gates and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong know a few things about how to spend a lot of money to disrupt mainstream research while searching for cures in medicine.

Sean Parker hopes to connect their ranks. In one thousand nine hundred ninety-ninth, he co-founded the file-sharing service Napster, and in two thousand-fourth, he became the first president of Facebook. Today, Parker announced his latest endeavor: a $250 million bet on eradicating cancer. Through the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, he says his map is just a matter of time until it works.

SHOULD WATCH

What'south unique about Parker'south Institute is its structure and design.

It brings together six of the country'south leading cancer centers to have them share intellectual property, enabling more than three hundred researchers at more than forty labs across the country to have immediate access to each other'south findings.

The institute will license the research findings from each of the cancer centers in order to share.

"In our case, it could be forty-eight hours before a trial is funded, and (just) several weeks before we've approval to conduct that trial in real humans," said Parker.

According to the FDA, when a sponsor submits a study as portion of the initial application for a new drug, the agency has thirty days to review the application and space the study on "hold" if there are any obvious reasons why it shouldn't be conducted. Barring a hold, the study may start with Institutional Review Board approval.

Parker wants the researchers to lead the charge, not institutions.

"Our model is totally different from the model of a grant-making organization," said Parker. "We internally expand this road map, working with every single scientist. Everything is exhaustively debated. We tell them to toss out their mediocre ideas that maybe they were waiting to obtain funded or they were standing in line effectively trying to obtain funding for one of their ideas from the NCI. We say, 'Toss it all away. Tell us the most ambitious thing you wish to work on. We wish you working on that.' "

Lessons from Silicon Valley

"There'south something very entrepreneurial about the (institute's) way of thinking, because entrepreneurs necessity to be very focused," said Parker. "Entrepreneurs don't have unlimited time. They don't have unlimited resources -- and if they're going to modify the world, they necessity to space bets. I wouldn't call them gambles because you're placing a bet on something where you've every reason to believe that it works and you're choosing amongst all of the things that you could potentially be doing -- the highest value, the highest impact thing."

Every year, fourteen million people are diagnosed with cancer and 8.2 million people die of cancer-related causes. To Sean Parker and his team, those numbers are unacceptable.

Parker points to the hundreds of billions of dollars invested to yield a very tiny expand in overall life expectancy.

"Chemo, radiation, surgery and some targeted drugs are capable of treating about fifty percent of all cancers. The other fifty percent are a death sentence, and there hasn't been a significant paradigm shift in the way we treat cancer in quite a long time, said Parker. "There have been a lot of misleading starts and promises made about new treatment modalities that never materialized, or they resulted in this incremental three- to six-months average life extension, which is what qualifies as a new drug."

"We're focused on immunotherapy for a reason ... because it'south a treatment modality that's the potential to treat all cancers," said Parker, founder and chairman of the new foundation. Immunotherapy, back in the one thousand nine hundred seventy, was seen as a high-tech breakthrough therapy, using the body'south immune system to fight cancer cells.

"Cancer cells are very smart; said Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone, president and CEO of the Parker Institute. They mutate, modify and memorise how to escape the drugs we utilize to attempt to treat them. By training (the immune system) to look unique cancer markers ... when it sees it again, it can attack again."

It'south personal

One of Parker'south best friends, prominent Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin, founded Stand up to Cancer, and she was instrumental in shaping Parker'south thinking about the disease. She died of complications from breast cancer in 2011.

"(Laura) was surrounded by all the best doctors in the world and had access to all the resources in the world, so if anybody should've lived, or anybody could've beaten cancer, it should've been Laura," said Parker.

"Her death at age sixty-one, galvanized me to do more, and presently I see back on it with a certain degree of frustration and angst because if only I'd done a tiny bit more a tiny bit faster, if only we'd built this network sooner. The treatments that are coming out of even some of our trials presently potentially could've cured her. It'south a tough thing."

"Twenty years from now, we should see back on cancer as something that our parents worried about -- and even though we'll probably never live in a world without cancer, the treatments should be relatively simple and extremely effective -- so it'south not something we've to worry about," said Parker.

READ ALSO
Inflatable 'bedroom' attached to space Sta

Inflatable 'bedroom' attached to space Sta

Bigelow Expandable Action Module (BEAM) is the first test module to ever attach to the space station. The prototype was one of the highly anticipated experiments SpaceX launched into orbit earlier in April.

73
Far-Right Gang of Bombers Targeted Refugees: German Executive

Far-Right Gang of Bombers Targeted Refugees: German Executive

The suspects are thought to be connected to at minimum three attacks using explosives — including two targeting centers housing migrants and refugees.

64
Polish President Leads Ceremonies to Warsaw Ghetto Fighters

Polish President Leads Ceremonies to Warsaw Ghetto Fighters

President Andrzej Duda led the ceremonies on the seventy-third anniversary of the start of the uprising, April nineteen, one thousand nine hundred forty-three. The fighters were crushed by the overwhelming forces of the German army, but they died as they chose:...

42
The Latest: sixteen Iraqis Repel Czech Republic Asylum, Go Residence

The Latest: sixteen Iraqis Repel Czech Republic Asylum, Go Residence

m. Sixteen Iraqis who were offered asylum in the Czech Republic have decided to return home. They arrived in the Czech Republic as portion of one hundred fifty-three Iraqi Christians who were threatened by extremists and included in a program to get asylum...

64