PROJECT SUMMARY: Director’s Overview and Essential Characteristics
Brian Druker, M.D., Center Director
The Knight Cancer Institute (KCI) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon, is the
only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in our catchment area, the state of Oregon. Our goal is to
leverage our unique strengths into treatment, early detection, and prevention strategies to improve patient
outcomes. The KCI has 191 members belonging to four scientific programs (Cancer Biology, Translational
Oncology, Quantitative Oncology, and Cancer Prevention and Control) and using six Shared Resources.
In the past reporting period, we developed and are implementing a comprehensive strategic plan which defines
three focus areas for our center: Culture of Inclusion and Innovation, Precision Oncology, and Precision Early
Detection. We have defined a comprehensive Diversity Action Plan to align with OHSU's efforts to be an anti-
racist institution and drive our efforts to ensure a Culture of Inclusion and Innovation within the KCI. Using our
strategic plan as a compass, we recruited 56 investigators, including 12 senior leaders. We completed the design
and construction of three new buildings, which allowed for the consolidation of our research and clinical care.
We restructured our administration and advisory committees to ensure our members' engagement in the effective
implementation of the strategic plan. These efforts have led to substantial increases in CCSG metrics, including
NCI funding, intra- and inter-programmatic interactions, collaborative grants, and investigator-initiated trials.
Thus, our current 191 KCI members are supported by $61.6 million in extramural funding, $26.9 million from the
NCI. In the current funding period, members published 2,265 cancer-focused, peer-reviewed publications, of
which 26% were intra-programmatic, 20% inter-programmatic, and 63% externally collaborative. In 2019, the
last full year before the pandemic, 556 patients were enrolled on interventional treatment trials, representing
11% of our 5,065 new analytic cases.
We continue our leadership in precision oncology (implementing sophisticated clinical trials based on
comprehensive tumor analytics) and in advancing understanding of tumor biology, the immune
microenvironment, and immunotherapeutics. We have provided leadership in numerous collaborative NCI
projects and were selected to lead a Biden Cancer Moonshot grant, Evaluation of Population Based Testing for
HBOC and Lynch Syndromes. We have refined and improved screening guidelines for multiple cancers,
contributed to exercise guidelines for cancer survivors, made substantial investments in Community Outreach
and Engagement, and invested in the education and training of the next-generation cancer workforce. Together,
these achievements have accelerated progress towards driving scientific discoveries in precision oncology and
precision early detection through our culture of inclusion and innovation.