Druker Named to Olympic Torch Relay Team

10/11/01    Portland, Ore.

OHSU researcher was nominated by grateful patients

Oregon Health & Science University researcher Brian Druker, M.D., was named to the Olympic Torch Relay Team at a ceremony today in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Druker will join 54 others in carrying the torch through the Columbia River Region on January 22, 2002 on its way to the Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Druker, director of the OHSU Cancer Institute's Leukemia Center, worked in close collaboration with pharmaceutical company Novartis to develop Gleevec, a targeted treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The drug has been so effective and non-toxic in treating CML that it was approved by the FDA this year in the fastest time ever for a cancer therapy. Gleevec also has been shown to work against gastrointestinal stromal tumors and is being tested on a variety of other cancers.

"This is an honor unlike any other I've received," said Druker, an avid runner and cyclist. "Right now I can only imagine how proud I'll be when I carry this symbol of international unity as a representative of Portland and the United States."

Community members were asked to nominate someone they found inspirational to carry the flame. The Portland Torch Committee says Druker received numerous nominations, mostly from grateful leukemia patients.