Scientist Who Helped Develop Cure for Ovarian Cancer Donates All Profits to Charity


By Mandy Froelich / Truth Theory

Meet Professor Nicola Curtin, a scientist presently being hailed as a hero after she donated all of the profits from a drug developed to cure ovarian cancer to charity. The 65-year-old worked as part of a team for 30 years at Newcastle University to develop the breakthrough treatment.

The approved medication is Rubraca, a cancer drug used to treat those with the specific BRCA gene. It’s also known as the “Angelina Jolie” gene, after the actress who possesses it, reports The Independent. The gene significantly increases the risk of ovarian and breast cancer and Rubraca works by enabling cancerous cells to repair their own DNA by killing tumor cells. At the same time, healthy tissue is left relatively intact and unaffected.

According to the Northern Echo, Newcastle University sold royalties for the drug for £31 million. After receiving her £865,000 share of the funds, Professor Curtine stablished the Curtin PARP (Passionate about Realising Your Potential) Fund at the Community Foundation. The initiative will work with people to help overcome barriers in education and employment.

“It’s to help people who are at a disadvantage through no fault of their own,” she said.

“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 just don’t believe that talent is restricted to white middle class people,” she said.


She added: “I’m a professor, I’m married to an engineer. We both struggle to spend what we earn, to be honest. We’ve got pretty modest lifestyles. I’m not a great one for gadgets because I don’t understand how to work them.”

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Comparing her payment to a lottery win, she concluded:

“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.”



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