Current Collaborations

Expanding the Future of Precision Medicine

A test tube containing cell samples used for research.OHSU and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute are collaborating with industry leaders in biotechnology, diagnostics, biomedicine, sequencing and computation to develop the next generation of technologies and tools required to make precision medicine a reality for all patients.

To facilitate and strengthen industry collaborations, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute provides alliance managers to facilitate communications between academic, legal, financial, corporate and operational stakeholders. Alliance managers also oversee operations to keep projects on target, within budget and on time.

The institute is also seeking new collaborations in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology diagnostics, healthcare IT, medical devices and other biomedical fields.

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Intel: Big Data Analysis for Precision Medicine

OHSU is collaborating with Intel to create the analytical infrastructure for precision medicine. The project brings scientists and clinicians together with computer programmers and engineers to improve the speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of big data analysis in the context of medical research and clinical applications.

Specific challenges to be addressed include:

  • Management and analysis of large volumes of genomic data for research and clinical purposes
  • Integrative analysis of extensive molecular and imaging data sets across various scales to provide a complete picture of cancer biology
  • Comprehensive analysis of precision-medicine-based clinical trials across large cohorts of patients
  • Real-time analysis of patient samples to guide clinical care

Solving these computational challenges will enable all stages of translational cancer research and medicine, from identification of new drug targets, to development of early detection diagnostics, and establishing platforms for individualized clinical care. Combining Intel’s strengths in extreme-scale computing with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s expertise in examining the molecular drivers of cancer, has poised the collaboration to develop bioinformatics that will advance the capabilities and accessibility of personalized cancer treatments.

Learn more about the OHSU-Intel collaboration.

FEI: Seeing Cancer in a New Light

OHSU, the Knight Cancer Institute and FEI, a leader in imaging technologies, have joined forces to advance the use of microscopy workflows for cancer research. The OHSU/FEI Living Lab for Cell Biology, part of the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine (OCSSB), provides state-of-the-art microscopy tools and workflows specifically for biological applications. These capabilities allow researchers to see new aspects of tumor biology, including:

  • Detailed structures in nanoscale resolution
  • Live cells and tissues over time in four dimensions
  • Dynamic interactions in real time
  • Tumor microenvironment

The OHSU/FEI Living Lab is seeking pharmaceutical collaborations.

Learn more about the OHSU/FEI Living Lab.

Organovo: Modeling Human Cancer with 3D

In conjunction with three-dimensional biology company Organovo, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is generating new model systems that recapitulate human tumor physiology. The project uses Organovo’s 3D bioprinting technology to print human cells from cancer patient biopsies as well as human cell lines, re-creating models of human tumors with impressive fidelity. Potential applications in:


  • Examine physiology of tumor microenvironment, which plays a critical role in driving tumor growth and metastasis
  • Test novel therapeutics and examine drug response without involving patients

Clinical Development

  • More reliably predict safety and efficacy of new drugs and diagnostics
  • Save time and money by studying human cell models that more closely approximate responses in human systems Test potential treatments in human systems earlier in the drug development process, bringing new therapies to the clinic more quickly

Clinical Care

  • Create laboratory-based avatars to test targeted therapies and guide individualized patient care

Learn more about the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute-Organovo collaboration.

Cepheid: Point-of-Care Diagnostics

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and Cepheid, a leading molecular diagnostics company, have united to develop the next generation of precision cancer diagnostics. Cepheid’s fast, easy and inexpensive diagnostic platform.

The collaboration aims to develop diagnostics for breast and prostate cancers that identify patients with:

  • Aggressive tumors, who need the most advanced treatments
  • Benign lesions, who can be spared the toxicity and expense of over-treatment, as well as anxiety with a more precise diagnosis
  • Specific genetic abnormalities that may guide targeted treatments
  • High risk of relapse, who should be more frequently monitored or given preventive treatments
  • Tumors that might be more easily detected using blood-based biomarker testing
  • Once tests are developed, OHSU Knight Diagnostic Laboratories will be instrumental in validation within patient populations and in providing these precision diagnostics in clinical care.

    Learn more about the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute-Cepheid collaboration.

    Beat AML: A New Collaborative Model

    The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have formed a collaborative model with the Beat AML initiative. Bringing together a multi-institutional consortium of leading academic health institutions and industry partners the initiative aims to do for acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, what Brian Druker, M.D., was able to do for chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML: crack the genetic code of the many forms of the disease and shut them down with molecularly targeted therapies.

    Principals include:

    • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS): The LLS is providing financing for the project to tackle AML, a disease that has been, with few exceptions, a death sentence.
    • Academic medical centers across the nation: Stanford University, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the Huntsman Cancer Institute at University of Utah and OHSU will recruit 900 AML patients to provide blood samples.
    • OHSU Knight Cancer Institute analytics: The project will rely on OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s advanced bioinformatics and computational capabilities, as well as functional assay platforms and integrative expertise, to analyze patient cancer cells and identify the molecular drivers of disease. The unique model accelerates progress in understanding the disease and identifying effective treatments by simultaneously testing patients’ leukemia cells for relevant mutations, and integrating this information with responses to different drugs and drug combinations.
    • Biotechnology and computational partners: Intel has provided advanced computational and capabilities.
    • Pharmaceutical collaborations: Several pharmaceutical companies are contributing drugs to tests on patient cells in the laboratory. Promising drugs and drug combinations will be carried forward into clinical trials.

    The consortium’s goal is to bring new therapies into clinical use for AML. The Beat AML team is seeking additional pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic health center partners. .

    Read more about Beat AML.


    Immunovia: Early Detection for Pancreatic Cancer

    Immunovia AB and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute have formed a collaboration to confirm, validate and commercialize a blood test for the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, with a survival rate of about 6 percent. As patients rarely exhibit symptoms until the disease has progressed, screening tests are crucial.   This collaboration aims to develop an effective screening test by utilizing the following: 

    • Leverage Immunovia’s IMMray™ PanCan-d test to create a biological snapshot of an individual’s immune-response by analyzing blood proteins that change as a sign of the disease.
    • Use OHSU’s Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care blood samples together with matched controls to run a retrospective study to verify, in a U.S. population, the findings of previous studies from Europe and China.
    • Utilize the OHSU Knight Diagnostic Laboratories to help validate the test’s finding on blood samples collected from consenting patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas.
    • Expand the research used in this process to allow researchers to explore biomarkers for a number of other cancer types.

     Learn more about the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute-Immunovia collaboration.