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Tech billionaire’s $250M grant to battle cancer

Jessica Hartogs, Special to CNBC
Sean Parker donates $250M to battle cancer
Sean Parker donates $250M to battle cancer

Former Facebook president Sean Parker is donating $250 million to fight cancer.

The 36-year-old Silicon Valley billionaire, who co-founded the music-sharing website Napster when he was 19, announced the creation of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy on Wednesday via his philanthropic foundation – the Parker Foundation.

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will focus on the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy, which harnesses the body's immune system to fight cancer cells.

The institute, which includes over 40 laboratories and more than 300 researchers, said the research would focus on modifying a patient's own immune system T-cells to target a tumor, studying ways to boost patient response to current immunotherapy drugs. It would also focus on research to identify other novel targets to attack a tumor.

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy brings together experts in the field from 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, according to its website.

Parker credited his late friend Laura Ziskin, a Hollywood producer known for such films as "Pretty Woman" and founder of Stand Up To Cancer, with raising his awareness of the need to overhaul cancer research, reported Reuters. She died of the disease in 2011.

Sean Parker established the Parker Foundation last June with $600 million.

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