Known for creating the music-sharing site Napster, and as being one of the first investors in Facebook, Sean Parker seems to know a good investment when he sees it. He also happens to know what it's like to have anaphylactic reactions. So when he recently donated more than $20M to create a new allergy research centre at Stanford University, I did a little happy dance. Finally! Someone with enough money to invest in allergy research and personal interest in it is stepping up!
Parker told Forbes, "The most important thing is to cure kids. This should be a curable disease but all we’ve done is put band-aids on it. We’ve been treating symptoms for 100 years. The scariest thing is for parents. You can’t be with your kids 24 hours a day–they’ll be in school and at friends’ houses. There is a lot of social pressure just to eat things and not ask questions–there is even bullying. It happened to me. Once kids found out I was allergic to peanuts, they’d try to smear peanut butter on me–that could have killed me."
And he's right. It's terrifying living being the parent of an allergic child, and infuriating to think people are bullied for something over which they have absolutely no control.
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It's incredibly frustrating to deal with something like allergies -- they're so different for each patient, and the information is unclear, and debated between even those who are supposed to know everything about them. My allergist may make one recommendation while another disagrees wholly. The fact that this new research centre will have the money to seek a cure instead of just another band-aid solution gives the allergy community so much hope.
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Parker says, they are, "...setting up the infrastructure for scientific immune monitoring–looking at molecular markers to see how the body reacts to allergens and see why some people are desensitized, and other get allergic reactions. The ultimate goal is to create a therapy that successfully induces tolerance to any allergen in a single treatment. In other words, we’re looking for a cure."
A cure. A cure for allergies. It's like a dream, isn't it?
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