Cancer Research Institute Given $1 Million Gift

Tech entrepreneur Sean Parker's donation to fund cancer immunotherapy research

Oct 16, 2013, 15:32 ET from Cancer Research Institute

NEW YORK, Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a New York-based nonprofit committed to developing immune system-based cancer treatments, was given a $1 million donation from tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker at CRI's 27th annual awards gala on Sept. 30.

At the dinner, Parker also received the organization's highest honor for lay individuals, the Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research, for his outspoken endorsement of cancer immunotherapy and substantial financial support of the Cancer Immunology Translational Research Dream Team that is jointly funded by CRI and Stand Up To Cancer, an organization to which Parker has strong ties.

"I'm truly honored to have an opportunity to work with all of you at this pivotal moment in history. It is my firm belief, and a belief that I think is shared by most people in this room, that the end of cancer is actually closer at hand than anyone outside of this room even realizes," Parker said at the gala.

Cancer Research Institute distributed $14.6 million in grants and fellowships in FY 2013, and Parker's donation will extend their ability to fund groundbreaking research.

In his acceptance speech, Parker praised scientists and clinicians for work that went unrecognized until recently when cancer immunotherapy started showing very promising treatment results. Having an organization driving collaboration and funding is also key to advancing research, he said about CRI's 60 years of leadership in the field.

"It's in large part due to that early vision that 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.

"This is an extraordinary gift, and we are deeply honored by Sean's generosity," said Dr. Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, CEO and director of scientific affairs at CRI. "Cancer immunotherapy is making huge leaps of progress right now in our ability to fight cancer, and this gift will help us fund research to save lives."

For more information about Cancer Research Institute, visit  Parker was also featured as the Wall Street Journal's "Donor of the Day" because of his support of CRI and cancer immunotherapy.

Video Available

Presentation of the Grace Award to Sean Parker by Dr. James P. Allison:

Sean Parker's Grace Award Acceptance Speech:

About the Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world's only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and eventually cure all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes three Nobel laureates and 27 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $263 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world's leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to

About the Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research

This award, established in 1995, recognizes the contributions of dedicated laypersons whose leadership has had a significant impact on cancer research. The award is named in memory of the late Oliver R. Grace, founding chairman of the Cancer Research Institute, whose vision, wisdom and generosity benefited the Institute for nearly 40 years.

Former Grace Award winners include: Mark P. Frissora, Hertz Corporation chairman and CEO (2012); Mitchell H. Gold, M.D., Dendreon Corporation (2011); American fashion designer Michael Kors (2010); Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (2010); Fred Hassan, chairman and CEO of Schering-Plough Corporation (2009); Wade F.B. Thompson, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Thor Industries (2007); Julian H. Robertson Jr., chairman, Tiger Management LLC (2006); Katie Couric, anchor of CBS Evening News (2002); and Andrea Jung, Avon Products, Inc. CEO (2001). To view a complete list of Grace Award recipients, go to


SOURCE Cancer Research Institute