Brian Druker, M.D.
Director, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Brian J. Druker, M.D., whose research led to the development of Gleevec, the first targeted cancer pill to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue unharmed, has been honored with one of the most distinguished awards in biomedical research — the Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research.
OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., announced the award at a September, 2009 news conference. The award was formally presented on Oct. 2, 2009 in New York City.
“I am extremely honored to receive this recognition. We are making significant progress in the fight against cancer and are providing hope to millions of patients and their families,” said Druker, director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research at OHSU. “We are well on our way to making effective and non-toxic therapies a reality for all cancer patients.”
The Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research is one of three awards given annually by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. The awards, which often foreshadow future recognition by the Nobel committee and are often referred to as “America's Nobels,” honor scientists and clinicians who’ve made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of human disease.
“OHSU’s goal is to improve the health and well-being of all Oregonians. Dr. Druker’s achievement is an exciting part of the work being done by hundreds of others at the Knight Cancer Institute and throughout OHSU who are developing new cures, sharing their work and improving care for patients in this community and throughout the world. This is one of the achievements of Oregonians’ investment in biomedical research through the Oregon Opportunity and significant private donor support,” said President Robertson.
During the six-year Oregon Opportunity campaign, more than $377 million in private philanthropic investment – including more than $10 million for cancer laboratory space – was committed to OHSU, leveraging $200 million in voter-approved state support to advance biomedical research. In 2008, OHSU received a transformative $100 million gift from Phil and Penny Knight to support Druker and the renamed OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.
“World-class science is expensive, painstaking and often frustrating, but results like Gleevec prove that its value is beyond calculation,” said OHSU Foundation President Allan Price. “Dr. Druker’s work is a prime example of how strong philanthropic partnerships can drive life-saving successes.”