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Brian J. Druker (born April 30, 1955)[1] is a physician-scientist at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), in Portland, Oregon. He is the director of OHSU's Knight Cancer Institute,[2][3] JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research, Associate Dean for Oncology in the OHSU School of Medicine, and professor of medicine.[4]

Brian J. Druker
Born (1955-04-30) April 30, 1955 (age 69)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Alma materUniversity of California, San Diego, Washington University School of Medicine
Known forGleevec
AwardsNovartis-Drew Award (2002)
Robert Koch Prize (2005)
Keio Medical Science Prize (2007)
Meyenburg Award (2009)
Lasker Clinical Award (2009)
Japan Prize (2012)
Dickson Prize (2012)
Albany Medical Center Prize (2013)

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences (2013-14)
Tang Prize (2018)
The Sjöberg Prize (2019)
Scientific career
InstitutionsHoward Hughes Medical Institute, Oregon Health & Science University

Druker helped develop imatinib (Gleevec), the first medication that specifically targets cancer cells, for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).[5][6][7] In 2001, Gleevec gained FDA approval in record time[8] and landed on the cover of Time magazine.[9] Druker’s work launched the era of precision cancer medicine, setting the stage for future discoveries in the quest to end cancer.[10]

He is the recipient of the 2009 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award,[11] the 2012 Japan Prize in Healthcare and Medical Technology,[12] the 2013 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research,[13] and the 2019 Sjöberg Prize,[14] among others. He has been called "Oregon's best-known scientist".[15]


Druker earned both his B.A. degree in chemistry and M.D. degree from the University of California, San Diego.[16] He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis from 1981 to 1984.[17]

Teaching and Research

Druker was a fellow in medical oncology at Dana–Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School from 1984 to 1987. He began working at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in 1993.[18]

In May 2007, he became director of the OHSU Cancer Institute—renamed the Knight Cancer Institute in October 2008 following a $100 million donation from Nike co-founder Phil Knight.[19]

Druker's research is focused on translating the knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of cancer into specific therapies and investigating the optimal use of these molecularly targeted agents. He performed preclinical studies that led to the development of imatinib (Gleevec) for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and then spearheaded the highly successful clinical trials of imatinib, which led to FDA approval of the drug in record time.[5][7][6] This work changed the life expectancy of patients with CML from an average of 3 to 5 years to a 89% five-year survival,[20][21] and has resulted in a paradigm-shift in cancer treatment from non-specific chemotherapy to highly targeted therapeutic agents.[22] Druker has been widely recognized for his work in developing Gleevec, but has been publicly critical of the drug's high price for patients.[23][24]

In 2015, Druker celebrated the completion of the Knight Cancer Challenge, raising $1 billion for research at the Knight Cancer Institute.[25] The Oregon Legislature and more than 10,000 donors from Oregon and beyond matched a $500 million grant from Phil and Penny Knight.[3] The challenge gave the institute the funding to launch the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center.[3]

Druker also helped lead a national clinical trial to find effective treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The Beat AML clinical trial, sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), is a joint effort by medical centers, drug makers and the Food and Drug Administration.[26]

Memberships and awards

Druker was an investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) from 2002 to 2019.[18] He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) in 2003 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Hematology, American Society for Microbiology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, Children’s Oncology Group, and The American Society for Cell Biology. Druker has received the following awards, among others:[27]


Druker is married to Alexandra Hardy, a one-time reporter for People magazine, and the couple have three children (as of 2009).[8] An earlier marriage, to Barbara Rodriguez in 1990, ended in divorce in 1999.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Meyenburg Award 2009 for the First Targeted Anti-Cancer Drug". German Cancer Research Center. October 12, 2009. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  2. ^ Terry, Lynne (December 20, 2015) [online date December 17]. "OHSU's $1 billion war on cancer". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. pp. A1, A12–A13. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  3. ^ a b c "Meet Dr. Brian Druker | Knight Cancer Institute | OHSU". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  4. ^ "Brian J. Druker M.D. | OHSU People | OHSU". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  5. ^ a b Druker, B. J.; Tamura, S.; Buchdunger, E.; Ohno, S.; Segal, G. M.; Fanning, S.; Zimmermann, J.; Lydon, N. B. (May 1996). "Effects of a selective inhibitor of the Abl tyrosine kinase on the growth of Bcr-Abl positive cells". Nature Medicine. 2 (5): 561–566. doi:10.1038/nm0596-561. ISSN 1078-8956. PMID 8616716. S2CID 36102747.
  6. ^ a b Druker, B. J.; Talpaz, M.; Resta, D. J.; Peng, B.; Buchdunger, E.; Ford, J. M.; Lydon, N. B.; Kantarjian, H.; Capdeville, R.; Ohno-Jones, S.; Sawyers, C. L. (2001-04-05). "Efficacy and safety of a specific inhibitor of the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase in chronic myeloid leukemia". The New England Journal of Medicine. 344 (14): 1031–1037. doi:10.1056/NEJM200104053441401. ISSN 0028-4793. PMID 11287972.
  7. ^ a b O'Brien, Stephen G.; Guilhot, François; Larson, Richard A.; Gathmann, Insa; Baccarani, Michele; Cervantes, Francisco; Cornelissen, Jan J.; Fischer, Thomas; Hochhaus, Andreas; Hughes, Timothy; Lechner, Klaus; Nielsen, Johan L.; Rousselot, Philippe; Reiffers, Josy; Saglio, Giuseppe (2003-03-13). "Imatinib compared with interferon and low-dose cytarabine for newly diagnosed chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia". The New England Journal of Medicine. 348 (11): 994–1004. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa022457. ISSN 1533-4406. PMID 12637609.
  8. ^ a b Dreifus, Claudia (2009-11-02). "Researcher Behind the Drug Gleevec". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  9. ^ "TIME Magazine Cover: Drugs That Fight Cancer - May 28, 2001". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  10. ^ "OHSU marks 20 years of life-saving cancer drug". May 7, 2021. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  11. ^ a b Strauss, Evelyn. "2009 Winners: Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award". Lasker Foundation. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  12. ^ a b "The Japan Prize Foundation". The Japan Prize Foundation. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  13. ^ a b "The Albany Prize". Albany Med Health System. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  14. ^ a b "Targeted treatment of cancer receives the Sjöberg Prize". Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien. 2019-02-04. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  15. ^ "How OHSU's Brian Druker Hopes to Cure Cancer". Willamette Week. Portland, Oregon. January 16, 2014. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  16. ^ a b Charles, Nick (February 19, 2001). "The Miracle Worker: Dr. Brian Druker Fires a Magic Bullet That May Eliminate a Lethal Form of Leukemia". People. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  17. ^ "Brian J. Druker". Commencement Archive 2014-2019. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  18. ^ a b "Five to receive honorary degrees at 149th Commencement" (Press release). Washington University in St. Louis. May 6, 2010. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  19. ^ Dworkin, Andy (October 29, 2008). "OHSU Cancer Institute gets $100 million donation". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  20. ^ Druker, Brian J.; Guilhot, François; O'Brien, Stephen G.; Gathmann, Insa; Kantarjian, Hagop; Gattermann, Norbert; Deininger, Michael W.N.; Silver, Richard T.; Goldman, John M.; Stone, Richard M.; Cervantes, Francisco; Hochhaus, Andreas; Powell, Bayard L.; Gabrilove, Janice L.; Rousselot, Philippe (2006-12-07). "Five-Year Follow-up of Patients Receiving Imatinib for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia". New England Journal of Medicine. 355 (23): 2408–2417. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa062867. ISSN 0028-4793. PMID 17151364.
  21. ^ "CML Patients Approach Normal Life Expectancy With Imatinib Treatment". Cancer Network. 2017-07-21. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  22. ^ Printz, Carrie (2017-05-15). "First person: Brian Druker, MD". Cancer. 123 (10): 1683–1684. doi:10.1002/cncr.30753. ISSN 0008-543X. PMID 28475244.
  23. ^ Budnick, Nick (April 25, 2013). "Top Oregon Health & Science University researcher to doctors: Rise up over drug prices". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  24. ^ "The price of drugs for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a reflection of the unsustainable prices of cancer drugs: from the perspective of a large group of CML experts". May 30, 2013. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  25. ^ "OHSU sets fundraising record by meeting $1 billion challenge from Nike co-founder and wife". OHSU News. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  26. ^ "Bringing Precision Medicine to AML Patients | Leukemia and Lymphoma Society". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  27. ^ a b "Tang Prize | Laureates | Brian J. Druker". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  28. ^ "CLINICAL SCIENTIST AWARDS IN TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH: Grant Recipients". Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
  29. ^ "Brupbacher Prize – Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Foundation". Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Stiftung. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  30. ^ "Brian J. Druker, MD". American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  31. ^ "Prize Recipients | Warren Alpert Foundation Prize". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  32. ^ "William Dameshek Prize Recipients". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  33. ^ "OHSU researcher to get American Cancer Society medal". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  34. ^ "Robert Koch Award". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  35. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  36. ^ "Keio Medical Science Prize|KEIO UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCIENCE FUND". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  37. ^ Williams, Elisa (February 22, 2011). "OHSU's Druker recognized for pioneering cancer research". Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  38. ^ "Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize Recipients". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  39. ^ "Request Rejected". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  40. ^ "UCSF Medal". Office of the Chancellor. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  41. ^ "OncLive Announces 2013 "Giants of Cancer Care"". OncLive. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  42. ^ "Taubman Prize". A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  43. ^ "Honorary Doctorates | Erasmus University Rotterdam". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  44. ^ "Prof. Brian J Druker - Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences - HMA". Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  45. ^ "Professor Brian J. Druker". Prince Mahidol Award Foundation. 2019-11-23. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  46. ^ "Rell Sunn 2019 - Druker and Hunter". Luau & Legends of Surfing Invitational. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  47. ^ "Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University director named winner of Watanabe Prize, will deliver keynote address at virtual 2020 Indiana CTSI Annual Meeting". Indiana CTSI. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  48. ^ "2023 Drug Discovery Conference". Stanford Cardiovascular Institute (in Samoan). Retrieved 2023-10-13.

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