$2.5 Million Award from Jeld-Wen Foundation Endows OHSU Chair in Leukemia Research for Brian Druker

11/07/01    Portland, Ore.

World-renowned researcher looks forward to additional discoveries in Oregon

The Oregon Health & Science University Foundation today announced that the Klamath Falls-based JELD-WEN Foundation will give $2.5 million to the OHSU Cancer Institute to endow the JELD-WEN Chair in Leukemia Research. The chair has been awarded to oncologist Brian Druker, M.D., director of the institute's Leukemia Center.

"We are honored by this gift and proud of the remarkable scientist who will hold the chair," said OHSU President Peter Kohler, M.D. "Endowed chairs provide the resources essential for innovation and discovery, and in this case the award honors a man whose discovery is almost without contemporary parallel. It has come to define a watershed moment in the history of cancer research."

Druker's groundbreaking research led to development of the revolutionary drug Gleevec for chronic myelogenous leukemia, a life-threatening form of cancer affecting about 5,000 Americans each year. Developed in collaboration with Novartis, Gleevec is the world's first anti-cancer therapy to successfully target only cancer cells while leaving normal cells alone, resulting in a treatment that is extremely effective with little or no side effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's May 2001 approval of Gleevec was the fastest ever for an anti-cancer therapy.

The JELD-WEN award will help further Druker's ongoing investigations at OHSU: optimizing the use of Gleevec for patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia, exploring Gleevec's use in other cancers, and developing other targeted agents.

"There are so many promising avenues both for Gleevec and for targeted therapies like it," said Druker. "I am delighted by the award, and excited about the freedom it gives me to return to my laboratory and focus on what's next."

JELD-WEN, Inc., is the world's largest manufacturer of doors, windows, millwork and specialty wood products. The JELD-WEN Foundation, established in 1969, principally funds projects in communities where JELD-WEN operations exist. Priorities for the foundation include: substantial annual commitments to local United Way chapters, a scholarship program and an emphasis on local capital projects.

"We at JELD-WEN feel that it is truly a privilege to support Dr. Druker and his inspiring, important work," said William Early, senior vice president, JELD-WEN, Inc. "Our company mission champions vision, planning and hard work, exactly the elements that have made Dr. Druker's enormous achievement possible. We salute his success and the new hope it brings to families grappling with cancer."

Payable over five years, the JELD-WEN gift supports the OHSU Cancer Institute's $42 million private fund-raising campaign. The campaign is part of The Oregon Opportunity, an OHSU-wide fund-raising initiative to support and expand the institution's programs and initiatives, and to accelerate biomedical research activities in the state. For more information about giving opportunities at the OHSU Cancer Institute, contact development director Carol Koller at 503 494-6564 or visit the OHSU Foundation Web site at www.ohsufoundation.org.