Nike co-founder and Chairman Phil Knight and wife Penny have pledged
$500 million to kick-start a $1 billion cancer research initiative at
the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University
(OHSU). Knight said the pledge is contingent on OHSU’s success in
raising at least $500 million more for cancer within two years.

has been in ongoing conversations with the Knights about the
possibility of additional investment in the Knight Cancer Institute,
which the couple supported with a $100 million gift in 2008.

President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., said in a statement that the
university eagerly accepts this historic challenge. “This is a
transformative moment,” he said, “not just for OHSU and for Oregon, but
for the people who matter most-this is about changing the lives of
cancer patients around the world.”

The Knights’ challenge wowed
an audience of 400 of OHSU’s top supporters at a Knight Cancer Institute
gala, for which Phil Knight and Penny Knight served as honorary chairs. In his
introduction of Knight Cancer Institute Director Brian Druker, M.D.,
Knight said that “it is incumbent on every one of us to do what he or
she can to keep the miracles coming.”

Druker is world-renowned
for his leadership in the development of the first molecularly targeted
anti-cancer drug, Gleevec, which began today’s revolution in
personalized cancer medicine. His achievements earned him the
prestigious Lasker Award.

Druker said the Knights’ extraordinary pledge will be the catalyst to address the next major challenges in cancer research.

Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a
pioneer in the field of personalized cancer medicine. The institute's
director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down
cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy cells. This
breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and
ushered in a new generation of targeted cancer therapies. The OHSU
Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated
Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle – an honor earned only by
the nation's top cancer centers. It offers the latest treatments and
technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical

Oregon Health & Science University is a nationally
prominent research university and Oregon’s only public academic health
center. It serves patients throughout the region with a Level 1 trauma
center and nationally recognized Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. OHSU
operates dental, medical, nursing and pharmacy schools that rank high
both in research funding and in meeting the university’s social mission.
OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute helped pioneer personalized medicine
through a discovery that identified how to shut down cells that enable
cancer to grow without harming healthy ones. OHSU Brain Institute
scientists are nationally recognized for discoveries that have led to a
better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and new treatments for
Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke. OHSU’s Casey Eye
Institute is a global leader in ophthalmic imaging, and in clinical
trials related to eye disease.