What Makes the Knight Cancer Institute Different

Cancer is a physical disease, but it imposes an emotional burden, too. A diagnosis can plunge you into a dizzying whirlwind of acronyms, appointments and uncertainty. It can feel overwhelming.

We get it. At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, we focus on treating the whole person. We also base our therapies on the latest research, often led by scientists right here at OHSU. That means we can offer many new therapies as soon as they’re available.

Dr. Arpana Naik in white medical coat standing in a room of equipment
Dr. Arpana Naik, one of the Knight’s expert surgeons, cares for breast cancer patients.

Our doctors are leaders in their fields

Skilled surgeons: We have more than 30 expert cancer surgeons skilled in many complex procedures. We’re leaders in robotic surgery, reconstructive surgery and minimally invasive surgery. In some cases, there’s no incision at all.

Cell transplants: We’ve done more than 4,500 bone marrow and stem cell transplants. That ranks us among the top 20 U.S. centers by volume.

Immunotherapy: We helped lead the first study to show CAR T-cell therapy treats a type of leukemia. We were the first center in the world to use natural killer cell therapy (NK therapy) in a patient with advanced lymphoma. We were also among the first in the nation to use immunotherapy to treat patients with advanced prostate cancer.

Mohs surgery: We’re national leaders in Mohs surgery for skin cancer. Mohs is more complex than other types of skin cancer surgery, but it offers high success rates and spares more healthy skin, for smaller scars.

Breast reconstruction: For some breast cancer patients, we can sculpt a breast from the patient’s own tissue. This results in an exceptionally realistic breast with no implant to eventually replace.

Sparing limbs: For patients with sarcoma, we’re experts at replacing bones and rebuilding limbs. We use bone from another part of the body or 3D-printed synthetic bone.

Prostate cancer: We pioneered a therapy for the most aggressive and deadly form of prostate cancer, and were central to getting it approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Since 2011, we’ve helped develop five new therapies for prostate cancer that were approved by the FDA.

We treat the person as well as the disease

Nurse navigator Justina Lynch standing in a hallway wearing a white medical coat
Nurse navigator Justina Lynch helps arrange care and answer questions for prostate cancer patients.

Team-based care: Patients who come to the Knight Cancer Institute are treated by teams of specialists who work together. Your cancer and treatment options will be considered from every angle.

A wide range of services: At the Knight, you’ll find:

  • Nurse navigators to guide patients through treatment
  • Dietitians to support your nutrition
  • Physical therapists to help you build or regain strength and skills
  • Palliative care specialists to ease pain and anxiety
  • Patient education, support groups, acupuncture, yoga and more

Guest house: The Rood Family Pavilion offers a home away from home with family suites and a rooftop playground. We have many resources for caregivers and families.

Meeting the needs of young people: A pioneering cancer program for adolescents and young adults is a national model.

Social work: Cancer can put a strain on relationships and finances. Our social workers can help resolve conflicts. They also offer advocacy, resources and compassion to support you.

We turn discoveries into treatments

Anupriya Agarwal, Ph.D., in a lab
Anupriya Agarwal, Ph.D., is one of the hundreds of Knight researchers pursuing innovations in patient care.

Clinical trials: You’ll find more than 400 clinical trials to test new therapies and approaches. This gives you access to the latest treatments. Your care team will help you decide if a trial is right for you.

Precision medicine: Our CEO, Dr. Brian Druker, pioneered the field of targeted therapy and precision cancer medicine. We’re applying these principles to more cancers than ever.

New hope for lymphoma: Dr. Richard Maziarz, director of our cell therapy program, played a central role in developing CAR T-cell therapy to treat an aggressive type of lymphoma.

Creating bone tissue: We’re developing a material that replicates human bone tissue, potentially serving as treatment for large bone injuries. It snaps together like a Lego.