OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Cancer Clinical Trials

A researcher examining a petri dish.

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is on the leading edge of discovering new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. We’re involved in more than 400 clinical trials, including studies of targeted therapies that disable cancer cells at the molecular level.


The Knight Cancer Institute is a world leader in groundbreaking cancer research.

SMMART trials

The SMMART program takes a new approach to fighting cancer. SMMART is aimed at identifying new treatments that last longer and improve the quality of life for patients with advanced cancer.

The idea is to attack multiple cancer pathways at once, stopping the cancer from growing before it can develop resistance to medications. Your team tracks each tumor, rapidly gathering data to adjust treatment and build knowledge. 

Early detection

The  Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center is the world’s largest effort to find cancer early. At CEDAR, we’re bringing together the best minds in science to unlock ways to detect cancer when it’s most curable.

Pathfinder 2 study to find cancer early

OHSU is a national site for the Pathfinder 2 study to see how well a blood test detects some early cancers. Dr. Nima Nabavizadeh is the principal investigator of the study, which is recruiting 20,000 participants.


Knight Cancer Institute CEO Brian Druker, M.D., helped pioneer Gleevec, a medication that turned chronic myeloid leukemia from a dire diagnosis into an illness that can be managed with a daily pill. Tens of thousands of patients have a normal life expectancy because of this advance.

Targeted therapies

Dr. Druker’s work with Gleevec showed that cancer cells can be targeted at the genetic level, opening a new world of cancer research. The Knight Cancer Institute has been on the front lines of researching targeted therapies ever since. These medications are tailored to the unique biology of a patient’s cancer, taking aim at cancer cells while mostly sparing healthy ones.

At OHSU, we evaluate every cancer patient for participation in a clinical trial. Dr. Skye Mayo talks about the variety of trials at OHSU, and how they're rooted in science and data.

Our excellence

The Knight Cancer Institute has earned the National Cancer Institute’s highest designation as a comprehensive cancer center. We’re the only comprehensive center between Seattle and Sacramento.

The distinction, a step up from designation as a cancer center since 1997, recognizes excellence in research that reaches across disciplines, training and education to best serve the region.

Research partnerships

The Knight Cancer Institute is part of regional, national and international research partnerships, offering patients local access to the latest advances and clinical trials.

Learn more

Cancer clinical trials

Clinical trials allow patients to try a new test or treatment.

Learn more about clinical trials

Watch this video to find out how clinical trials work and why they're important.