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Brian Druker, MD

Wallace H Coulter Lectureship Award

Dr. Druker is the director of the Knight Cancer Institute, associate dean for oncology, and Jeld-Wen Chair of Leukemia Research at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. A pioneer in the field of precision medicine, his research focuses on translating knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of cancer into specific therapies and investigating the optimal use of these molecularly targeted agents. Dr. Druker’s research led to the first drug to target the molecular defect of a cancer while leaving healthy cells unharmed—imatinib (Gleevec) for chronic myeloid leukemia. He performed the preclinical studies that led to its development and then spearheaded the clinical trials that led to Food and Drug Administration approval of imatinib in record time. The drug changed the life expectancy of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia from an average of three to five years to a 95% survival at five years. The approach has led to a paradigm shift in cancer treatment from nonspecific chemotherapy to targeted therapeutic agents, spurring the development of more than 50 similar precision therapies for other cancers. Dr. Druker has served on the editorial boards of Blood, Cancer Cell, OncoTarget, and Cell Cycle, and as senior editor of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. He has served on several working groups of the National Cancer Institute and on the board of directors of the American Association for Cancer Research. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. Among his many awards, he received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.