The Bezos family, made up of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and his parents, has continued its long-established backing of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center by donating it $35 million to help draw top researchers and to discover new ways to fight cancer.
The donation is the largest gift ever given in the institution’s 41-year history, breaking the previous record of $20 million in 2014 also given by the Bezos family.
“What we are really giving is the gift of time for all those people who will benefit from new treatments and cures. It’s the gift of more hugs, more graduations and more moments,” said Jackie Bezos, in a press release.
Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, plans to focus the gift on areas with the potential for huge impact such as improving translational data science to know in advance which patients will respond to immunotherapy.
Gilliland also mentioned about 25 percent of cancers in the United States are caused by viruses and stressed investing “developing vaccines and other mechanisms” to help with such pathogen-related cancers.
“This gift recognizes the Hutch’s tradition of researchers working collaboratively, bringing together the brightest minds from different areas to find answers to the most vexing questions. It also represents a push into bold, new research areas and expedites work currently underway,” Gilliland said.
The gift also gives Fred Hutch an advantage in acquiring the best talent considering the widespread concerns on the future of public funding research, according to Gilliland.
In 2007, the Bezos family donated $500,000 to the for cancer research. The family followed up two years later with a $10 million donation to fund the immunotherapy program.
The previous record high donation of 20 million in 2014 focused on immunotherapy for leukemia and lymphoma, as well as various other types of cancer.
The gift from the Bezos family is separate from the Bezos Family Foundation, a nonprofit emphasizing learning and leadership.