"Leukemia Pill" Patients Form Largest Team in "Light the Night" Walk

11/29/00    Portland, Ore.

Patients of OHSU researcher Brian Druker raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Make way for "Doctor Druker's Dream Team" at this year's Light The Night Walk. With 34 members, they're the largest Portland team participating in this nationwide event.

So far the team honoring Oregon Health Sciences University researcher Brian Druker, M.D., has raised close to $4,000 in pledges, and patient Judy Orem, unofficial team captain, couldn't be happier. Why Druker's Dream Team? "Ever since he was a young man, his dream has been to discover an alternative to chemotherapy," said Orem. The crew comprises patients, spouses and a few of their children. The team's dedication can be felt from far and near. Two couples are coming from out of state to participate, and pledges from other Druker patients have come from as far away as South Carolina and Canada.

Druker, an associate professor of medicine (hematology and medical oncology) at the OHSU School of Medicine, has garnered a wealth of attention due to his development of STI571 and its effect on those with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Unlike chemotherapy treatments, the pill targets only the enzymes found in the leukemia cells while leaving the normal cells alone. The pill currently is in phase III clinical trials. All patients on the Light The Night team have used this drug.

The second annual Light The Night Walk takes place 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at the World Trade Center, 121 S.W. Salmon, Portland.