The gift — the largest in the center's history — will enable FHCRC researchers, in partnership with the University of Washington and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, to transform treatment of common solid-tumor cancers — including those of the lung, ovaries, pancreas, and colon — through adoptive T-cell therapy. Because T-cell therapy eliminates cancer cells without harming healthy ones, it causes fewer side effects than chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. The gift will provide funds for collecting and analyzing tumor samples that lead to the discovery of new targets for immune-based therapies and enable immunologists and gene therapy researchers to continue perfecting T cells and other components of these therapies.
"The kind of funding we've received from the Bezos family allows us to support our world-class team and recruit essential new team members, conduct pilot studies of new ideas, and organize the entire discovery process from A to Z — from concept to basic science to preclinical studies to clinical trials," said FHCRC executive vice president and deputy director Frederick R. Appelbaum. "It's almost undoable with conventional grant funding, but with philanthropic funding to structure the whole program — as opposed to just a couple experiments — it's a whole different world."