Brian Druker Honored by Science Organizations

03/06/01    Portland, Ore.

OHSU researcher who developed new CML treatment receives prestigious Rosenthal Award and other honors

Brian Druker, M.D., will be awarded the prestigious Richard and Hilda Rosenthal Foundation Award by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) later this month for his work in developing a remarkable treatment for a form of leukemia. Druker also will be honored by the Brupbacher Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for his acheivement.

Druker, a professor of medicine at the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine, helped to develop STI571 (now called Glivec), a pill that has sent thousands of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) into remission. The pill currently is in Phase III clinical trials at more than 30 sites around the world and has just been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

Supported by the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation, the Rosenthal Award recognizes translational research that has made or gives the promise of soon making a notable contribution to improved clinical care in the field of cancer. The award is restricted to recipients engaged in the practice of medicine who are younger than 50 years of age at the time of the award to provide incentives to early career investigators.

Along with the award, Druker will be granted a lectureship on his research at the AACR's 92nd Annual Meeting in New Orleans, March 24-28. Druker's lecture, "Inhibition of the BCR-ABL Tyrosine Kinase as a Therapeutic Strategy for CML: A Model For Molecular Pathogenetic Targeting," will take place as part of the meeting's plenary session on March 25.

Founded in 1907, the AACR is a nonprofit professional organization of more than 17,000 laboratory and clinical scientists engaged in cancer research in the United States, Canada and more than 60 other countries.

Druker also is the fourth recipient of the Emil J. Freireich Award for Clinical Research, awarded by the Foundations of Clinical Cancer Research at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. The award recognizes excellence in cancer research among young clinical investigators. The award will be presented at the Foundations of Clinical Cancer Research symposium March 8-9.

Druker also is being honored with the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Foundation Prize for Cancer Research Award 2001. This award is presented annually to scientists who are active internationally in the field of fundamental cancer research. Clinical trials for Glivec are under way in more than a dozen countries, representing the largest such study of an experimental drug in cancer research history. Druker will travel to Zurich on March 14 to accept the award.

"My work has been built on the efforts of numerous cancer researchers," said Druker. "I am grateful for the recognition by my colleagues of my research contribution and for the opportunity to help so many people."

About 5,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with CML, a disease characterized by an excessive proliferation of white blood cells. Over time, those cells shut down the body's immune system and cause death. Glivec, developed by Druker in collaboration with scientists at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, targets the enzyme that causes the excessive white blood cells and leaves other cells alone.