Researcher Receives $750,000 Grant for Leukemia Work

03/22/00    Portland, Ore.

Brian Druker Will Explore Further Questions About Remarkable Treatment

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund announced today that Brian Druker, M.D., a researcher at Oregon Health Sciences University, is one of 10 recipients of a Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research. The awards each provide $750,000 over a period of five years to clinical researchers who will help bridge the gap between the laboratory bench and patient care.

Druker was awarded for his work developing STI-571, an enzyme-inhibiting compound that attacks the molecular cause of chronic myelogenous leukemia. Druker is in the second phase of human trials of the compound and has seen great success in returning patients to normal blood counts. With this grant, Druker hopes to explore further questions about the treatment.

"While we understand the basic mechanism of how this treatment works, we need to do more research into what is happening to the cells when they are affected by this compound," said Druker. "Also, some patients at different stages of the disease respond differently to the treatment, so we need to know why and how we can improve the treatment for everyone."

The awards are intended to foster the development and productivity of midcareer physician-scientists who will strengthen translational research--the two-way transfer between basic research and the treatment of patients--through their own studies as well as their mentoring of the next generation of physician investigators.

"Although recent years have seen an explosion of fundamental insights into the mechanisms of disease, transferring this knowledge into practical advances in health care has moved more slowly," said BWF President Enriqueta C. Bond, Ph.D. "The National Institutes of Health and other public and private organizations support a significant amount of basic biomedical research, while industry supports the commercial development of medicines and medical products--yet the vital bridge between these areas remains underserved."

###

Brian Druker, M.D., is associate professor of medicine (hematology and medical oncology), biochemistry and molecular biology, and cell and developmental biology, OHSU School of Medicine. He is leader of the Oregon Cancer Center's hematologic malignancies program.