A true act of benevolence and altruism
Scientist donates her share of proceeds from anti-cancer drug to charity. This story is among the most inspirational we have read lately.
A British researcher, a member of the team who discovered a new ovarian cancer drug, has donated £ 865,000, her share of the profits from the sale of the drug's rights, to establish a charitable fund.
Professor Nicola Curtin, 65, was a member of the Newcastle University research team who worked for 30 years and succeeded to produce Rubraca, a new cancer drug that has been approved for use on the National Health Service of England (NHS).
Rubraca is used to treat patients with the specific BRCA gene, which significantly increases the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
American actress Angelina Jolie had that gene and decided to do a double mastectomy and to talk about it openly in order to raise awareness and help many women who may have the gene.
“I feel very privileged to have such a great career. By working with a team of scientists at Newcastle University to bring Rubraca to market, we’ve created a cancer treatment that has the potential to change thousands of women’s lives. Our extraordinary journey began in the 1990s, and the clinical development of Rubraca is the result of many years of hard work. This journey has made me reflect on my own life, and it seems wrong for me to benefit from this financially. I’m proud that this research will change lives, and I have everything that I need in life - a good job, a loving family, a nice house, but in society there are many who do not have this”, said Professor Curtin, who was described as "a philanthropist, with a significant social contribution".
Newcastle University sold royalties for the drug for £31 million. Professor Curtin used her £865,000 share of the funds to establish the “Curtin PARP Fund”, with the goal to support a range of activities to help people to develop the skills, talents and confidence to overcome barriers to employment or education. Priority will be given to patient carers, disabled people, homeless people and people who are experiencing disadvantage that prevents them from realizing their potential.
As Professor Curtin explained, “young carers have quite a rough time, they miss out on opportunities at school because they’re busy looking after a sibling or a parent. They need a help up - so do refugees, so do all sorts of people”.
“I don’t think any scientist is driven by monetary considerations. What we’re driven by, largely, is finding things out. And the fact that we’ve hit gold with this drug is largely down to luck. There’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of people, but that’s true of many projects that don’t reach fruition in the same way. I could easily have been one of these people,” she said and compared her payment to a lottery win.