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How OHSU's Brian Druker Hopes to Cure Cancer

The most ambitious fund-raising effort in Oregon history--$500 million in two years--is the job of two men who visited our offices this week.

Dr. Brian Druker, director of OHSU's Knight Cancer Institute, is Oregon's best-known scientist. A winner of the Lasker Prize and thought to be on the short list for a Nobel Prize, Druker's signature accomplishment was the development of a drug to treat a form of leukemia. Dr. Joe Robertson is an opthamologist who became the president of the Oregon Health & Science University in 2006.

In September, Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight pledged $500 million to the Knight Cancer Institute (so named when Knight gave OHSU $100 million several years ago) if OHSU could raise an additional $500 million in two years.

OHSU quickly decided to see if they could get $200 million of that from taxpayers, and will be asking the legislature next month to float government obligation bonds to do just that. (To be clear, the $200 million that OHSU is seeking from Salem would go toward the $500 million that Knight says they must raise in the next two years, but OHSU is saying that it will actually seek to raise a total of $700 million).

Robertson and Druker came to WW's offices early this week to discuss why they think this would be a good investment for the state. A portion of that interview can be found here.  We will also be running video clips of some of the rest of the interview. 

In this clip, Druker explains what OHSU would actually do with the billion dollars.