Bezos Family Gives $710M to Cancer Center

Seattle research center hopes to use donation to speed up trials
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 13, 2022 5:55 PM CDT
Cancer Center Hopes Bezos Family Gift Speeds Up Trials
A building at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

The Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has announced a $710 million gift from the Bezos family, the largest gift the center has ever received and one of the largest to go to any single cancer research organization in recent years. The donation will fund 36 new research labs, the building of a large research facility, investments in clinical trial infrastructure, and immunotherapy research over 10 years, the center said Wednesday. Thomas Lynch, president and director of the center, said he worked with Mike and Jackie Bezos, who made the gift, to understand what motivated their giving, the AP reports. Jackie Bezos is the mother of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, while her husband, Mike, is Jeff Bezos' stepfather.

"But don't underestimate the importance of urgency," Lynch said in an interview. "Because I think that's something that I feel passionately about, and I know that Mike and Jackie feel passionately about being able to bring cures to patients soon." The Bezos family has previously given almost $68 million to the Hutch's research since 2009, the center said. It declined to say whether Mike and Jackie Bezos had given through their foundation or through another entity. In a statement, Mike Bezos praised the merger of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center—rebranded this month as Fred Hutch, but widely known as the Hutch—Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and UW Medicine earlier this year into a unified adult cancer research center.

"We hope our investment in the Hutch leads to answers for the most pressing medical questions," Mike Bezos said. "We also hope this inspires others to join us now in pursuing scientific and medical breakthroughs." The center hopes to accelerate the pace of clinical trials, Lynch said, with the aim of reviewing and opening trials within 90 days. The work researchers and clinicians will be able to do at the center will also benefit patients and researchers elsewhere in the country, said Nilofer Azad, an oncology professor at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University. "We can really use scientific knowledge in ways that are practical towards changing patient care, but that does require significant resources," she said.

(More cancer research stories.)

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