Oregon Health & Science University has announced that it has matched the $500 million challenge gift from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, in less than two years, establishing a fundraising record.
The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute will use the $1 billion in funding to launch the first large-scale program dedicated to early detection of lethal cancers — considered one of the greatest unmet needs in cancer care today. To that end, the institute will begin fast-track recruitment of about twenty-five top researchers, who in turn will hire up to an additional two hundred and seventy-five scientists and physicians, creating a large, multidisciplinary team focused on the detection of early biological changes in the body which may signal that a lethal cancer is beginning to develop. Catching the disease in its early stages will enable oncologists to treat it when it's most curable, with the fewest side effects, and at the lowest cost.
"While cancer treatment has evolved to become more precise and less toxic, the tests and tools used for cancer detection have not changed in decades," said OHSU Knight Cancer Institute director Brian Druker. "Without better, earlier detection and a full understanding of cancer’s origins in the body, the promise of precision cancer medicine cannot be realized."
Launched in September 2013, the fundraising campaign received more than $20 million in donations over the past few weeks, including gifts from the Cambia Health Foundation, Intel Corporation, and the Wayne D. Kuni and Joan E. Kuni Foundation. The largest gift during the campaign came from the state of Oregon, which committed $200 million for research and clinical facilities, while the largest gift from an individual was made by Columbia Sportswear chair Gert Boyle, who gave $100 million.
"This is a historic milestone for cancer research, for Oregon, and for our institution," said OHSU president Joe Robertson. "The support we have received to achieve our ambitious goal ― putting an end to cancer as we know it ― has been nothing short of stunning. We are deeply grateful to the state of Oregon for its leadership and investment at the early stages of our campaign as well as to the thousands of individuals, companies, and foundations who joined us along the way."