Mission and Knight Cancer History

We’ve made a promise to the people of Oregon to make the state’s death rate from cancer the lowest in the U.S. Our commitment to fulfilling this goal powers all we do - pushing us to learn more about what causes cancer and how it can be stopped. With over 200 clinical trials in progress, we are searching for new cures, standards of care, treatments and therapies for cancer.

Our mission statement

At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, we see a world without cancer. As pioneers in personalized cancer medicine, we continue to change the way the world understands and fights this disease. We will:

  • Provide individually-tailored, compassionate care for every patient, from diagnosis through survivorship.
  • Discover new ways to prevent cancer.
  • Develop new personalized cancer therapies.

We will end cancer as we know it.

Knight Cancer history

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute became Oregon’s only NCI-designated cancer center in 1997. The institute is known internationally for its leadership in fighting cancer at the molecular level. The most celebrated cancer discovery in a generation—the targeted drug Gleevec—was developed at OHSU by Brian J. Druker, M.D., the director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research. Druker also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator.

For a brief summary of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, download a fact sheet about the institute.

Notable dates

2011 OHSU recruits Joe Gray, Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader and innovator in genomics and cancer research, to accelerate our understanding of how cancer grows so we can find more targeted therapies and save more lives.
2009 Renowned faculty leaders join the Knight Cancer Institute including lung oncology expert Alan Sandler, M.D., chief of hematology/medical oncology and prostate cancer expert and surgeon Chris Amling, M.D., chief of urology.
2009 OHSU expanded Peter O. Kohler Pavilion to provide the most cancer hospital beds under one roof in Oregon, including special facilities for patients undergoing bone marrow transplants or require treatment for hematologic malignancies.
2008 Pacific Oncology, providing specialty oncology expertise in the Portland metropolitan area for close to 20 years, joins OHSU, thereby creating greater access to quality care, world-renowned cancer research and leading edge technologies throughout Portland.
2008 Philip and Penny Knight’s generous $100 million gift renames the Knight Cancer Institute enabling key investments in faculty, research and programs to accelerate progress.
2007 Dr. Bagby retires as director. Brian Druker, M.D., is named his successor.
2007 The institute opens a new radiation patient treatment facility in the newly built Peter O. Kohler Pavilion, new clinics in the OHSU Center for Health & Healing and laboratory space in the Biomedical Research Building, totaling more than 200,000 square feet of clinical and laboratory space dedicated solely to cancer care and research at OHSU.
2006 The OHSU Prostate Cancer Program is one of a few programs selected to join a national consortium to share knowledge, tools and technology, bringing the latest in care to patients faster.
2005 OHSU establishes one of the first Adolescent and Young Adult cancer programs in the U.S. with the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s support.
2003 The FDA approves Gleevec as the first new pediatric cancer therapy in more than a decade.
2001 The FDA approves Gleevec, the world’s first targeted cancer therapy developed by Dr. Druker, in record time for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia. Gleevec is later approved for nine more cancers.
2001 The Oregon Cancer Center changes its name to OHSU Cancer Institute.
1999 Research at OHSU helps establish colonoscopy is the international standard of care for
early detection of colorectal cancer.
1998 The Oregon Cancer Center moved its administrative offices to the newly dedicated Mark O. Hatfield Research Center on OHSU's main Marquam Hill campus.
1997 The institute achieves National Cancer Institute designation, the first and only cancer research and care center in Oregon to earn this prestigious designation. OHSU becomes the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Clinical Cancer Center between Seattle and Sacramento.
1993 Dr. Bagby recruits Brian Druker, M.D.
1992 The Oregon Cancer Center is founded at Oregon Health & Science University. OHSU President Peter O. Kohler, M.D. appoints Grover Bagby, M.D., as director.
1986 OHSU Foundation Board members led by Charlie Allis and Dick Rubinstein raise funds for OHSU’s first endowed cancer chair.