Meet Dr. Brian Druker

Meet Dr. Brian Druker

Director, Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University; JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Brian Druker, M.D., revolutionized the treatment of cancer through research that resulted in the first drug to target the molecular defect of a cancer while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Marketed under the name Gleevec®, his discovery turned a once-fatal cancer, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, into a manageable condition. Treatment with Gleevec received FDA approval in record time, was featured on the cover of Time magazine, and established Dr. Druker as a pioneer in the field of precision medicine. Most important, his discovery became a new proof of principle for targeted therapies, spurring the development of more than 50 similar precision therapies for other cancers.

Now, Dr. Druker is applying key principles of precision medicine to early detection. Earlier detection of lethal cancers represents the greatest opportunity to increase cancer survival rates. Thanks to $1 billion in philanthropic funding, Dr. Druker is developing a large-scale early detection program that builds upon the scientific strengths of OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute.

Druker has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Warren Alpert Prize from Harvard Medical School, the Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research, and the Japan Prize in Healthcare and Medical Technology. He has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The following videos feature some highlights of the pioneering work under way at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

One billion dollars raised in Knight Cancer Challenge


The $1 billion fundraising challenge by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny has been met.  OHSU announced on June 25, 2015 that it reached the fundraising goal that triggers the Knights’ gift pledge, which sets a new philanthropic record. OHSU beat the Knights’ deadline by seven months and garnered support from donors in every state in the nation and five countries. Donors were inspired by plans for the first grand-scale program of its kind dedicated to radically transforming early detection of lethal cancers ― one of the biggest unmet needs in cancer care today.

With $1 billion in new funding, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is recruiting 250 to 300 scientists and physician investigators, including about 25 of the world’s top researchers. These leading scientists will be given the financial support they need to ensure they can focus on research rather than administration of grants. 

Acting now to change the future

At the Oregon Business Summit, Brian Druker, M.D., shares his strategy for seeking faster, smarter ways to detect and treat cancer.