The Cancer Letter invited Jedd Wolchok, associate attending physician and chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to describe the workings of the just-announced Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.
Wolchok, director of one of the Parker-funded centers, spoke with Matthew Ong, a reporter with The Cancer Letter.
Matthew Ong: What was the genesis of this initiative? Whose idea was it and how did it happen?
Jedd Wolchok: This was really the idea of Sean Parker. Sean, as you know, is a very successful technology entrepreneur, but he also has a very significant interest in immunology, because of some personal allergy issues that he had, and also because of his friendship with Laura Ziskin, the founder of Stand Up To Cancer.
He became very close to her during the time that she had recurrent breast cancer, and educated himself as to different treatment modalities. He became fascinated with immunotherapy, and as a result of that, he started to look at the entire cancer research process as sort of an outsider looking in—as someone who lives in a different world observing this process.