NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
January 8, 2008 • Volume 5 / Number 1 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Cancer Center ProfileCancer Center Profile

Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute
Director: Dr. Brian J. Druker • 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, CR 145, Portland, Oregon 97239 • Phone: 503-494-1617 • Web site:

An aerial tram connecting the OHSU Cancer Center to the medical buildings is shown.
From its inception in 1992, the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Cancer Institute was conceived as a resource that would draw on its strengths as part of an academic health center and research powerhouse. In 1997, the OHSU Cancer Institute became the only NCI-designated Cancer Center in Oregon. Dedicated to reducing the cancer mortality rate in Oregon by connecting with existing statewide physician networks, the OHSU Cancer Institute's mission is to translate discoveries into better ways to diagnose, prevent, and treat cancer.

The institute is known worldwide for leadership in molecularly targeted therapies, including the most celebrated cancer discovery in a generation: the drug Gleevec (imatinib). Gleevec was developed by Dr. Brian J. Druker, who is JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research and director of the OHSU Cancer Institute. Recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Druker also is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Research Activities
With more than 300 researchers and more than 200 open clinical trials, the OHSU Cancer Institute is the region's primary hub for cancer clinical trials. The institute's research program focuses on four areas: cancer biology; hematologic malignancies; solid tumors; and cancer prevention and control. The institute includes oncology researchers from the OHSU schools of medicine, nursing, and dentistry; the OHSU Casey Eye Institute; and OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Many OHSU clinical trials have led to treatment advances in prostate, breast, and colon cancers; leukemia; lymphoma; gastrointestinal stromal tumors; and other malignancies. For example, OHSU-led research established colonoscopy as the gold standard for early detection of colon cancer. In 2006, OHSU was one of 12 institutions that received the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award.

Patient Care Specialties
Each year OHSU Cancer Institute clinicians oversee more than 3,500 inpatient admissions and 35,200 outpatient visits. Multidisciplinary teams of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, social workers, and nutritionists create a customized treatment plan for adult and pediatric patients. Renowned for its leukemia and prostate cancer care programs, the OHSU Cancer Institute is the only resource in the region for allogeneic bone marrow transplant, and it offers unique expertise in complex sarcoma, head and neck, pancreatic, liver, and neurosurgical cancer treatment. The institute's Department of Radiation Medicine offers state-of-the art technologies, including the only Calypso image guidance radiation system in the region, while ongoing research in stereotactic body imaging promises more precise radiation treatment options.

Other Notable Programs
The OHSU Cancer Institute's Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program, one of only a handful in the nation, facilitates services for the 15- to 40-year-old cancer population, including screening for clinical trials, fertility counseling, social support and networking, rehabilitation, and other services. The Colorectal Cancer Assessment and Risk Evaluation Clinic brings together health professionals from medical genetics, oncology, gastroenterology, surgery, pathology, nutrition, and social work for individualized treatment; the associated statewide colorectal cancer registry captures genetic information. The Breast Health Education Program trains clinicians throughout Oregon on clinical breast examination and provides breast health education to patients. The institute's Cancer Prevention and Control Program connects scientists with national databases to analyze cancer trends.