Sean Parker Wants To Cure Cancer And End Allergies

Tech entrepreneur Sean Parker is best known for cofounding Napster, serving as an early president of Facebook, and being immortalized on film in "The Social Network." Now, the billionaire is devoting much of his time and money to philanthropy. He announced that he would commit $600 million to the Sean N. Parker Foundation, which will concentrate in large part on science and public health.

One of the focuses of Parker's foundation is cancer immunotherapy, an approach to fighting the disease that helps the immune system detect and kill cancer cells. This method, says Parker, is producing what appear to be "durable" treatments for leukemia, lymphoma and melanoma.

Another focus is allergies. Parker, who suffers from a severe peanut allergy, is interested in desensitization -- the process of exposing people to small amounts of the substance they're allergic to in order to destroy the allergy's power. Doctors had been reluctant to employ this approach until recently, he said, but tremendous progress has been made in the last several years.

In an interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric, Parker discussed his overarching mission.

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"I think there's a real sense among tech entrepreneurs that we're living in a unique moment in history," Parker said. "Because of circumstances that were in some ways beyond our control, we've been able to do extremely well. There's a certain sense of responsibility that comes along with that, a desire to give back."