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.

Most therapy trials remain open

At the Knight Cancer Institute, we remain committed to giving our patients access to clinical trials of cancer treatments. Read an update on our response to the coronavirus and its effect on clinical trials. Most studies of promising new therapies remain open for participation.


OHSU is a world leader in groundbreaking cancer research.

SMMART trials

Our innovative SMMART program takes a new approach to fighting cancer. SMMART (Serial Measurements of Molecular and Architectural Responses to Therapy) trials use a combination of targeted medications tailored to each patient. The idea is to attack multiple cancer pathways at once, stopping the cancer from growing before it can develop resistance to medications. The SMMART team also tracks each tumor, rapidly gathering data to adjust treatment and build knowledge. 


The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute was one of seven sites across the country selected by GRAIL, Inc., a health care company dedicated to detecting cancer early, to join a study designed to improve early detection of cancer. The PATHFINDER study evaluated an investigational test designed to detect many types of cancer through one blood draw. If you are interested in learning about Galleri™, a multi-cancer early detection blood test, email our team

Early detection

The Knight Cancer Institute has launched the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center, 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.


Knight Cancer Institute Director 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.

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.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the Knight Cancer Institute as the top cancer center in Oregon and among the best in the nation. OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, which works in partnership with the Knight, is ranked the best in Oregon and among the best in the U.S. for children’s cancer care.

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