$2.5 million gift funds endowed chair for cancer research | OHSU Foundation

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One of the most highly cited medical scientists in the world, Gordon Mills, M.D., will be joining the faculty of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. He will hold the new Wayne and Julie Drinkward Chair in Precision Oncology.

The Drinkwards, who established the chair with a gift of $2.5 million to OHSU, are longtime supporters of the Knight Cancer Institute. Wayne, CEO and president of Hoffman Construction Corporation, is chair of the Knight Cancer Council; his wife, Julie, has supported a plethora of women’s health efforts at OHSU. In addition, the Drinkward family—along with Hoffman Construction Corporation—were instrumental donors who helped ensure the completion of the $1 billion Knight Cancer Challenge fundraising campaign.

“Julie and I are inspired by Dr. Mills’ track record and the opportunity his recruitment brings to advance precision medicine in ways that truly transform cancer diagnosis and treatment,” said Wayne Drinkward. “We see our gift as a meaningful investment in the health of our community.”

Mills was recruited from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to lead the Knight Cancer Institute’s efforts in precision oncology. With the success of the Knight Cancer Challenge, the institute is well positioned to become a world leader in early detection research. Precision oncology is a critical part of institute’s overall vision to transform cancer care. To realize the best possible outcomes for cancer patients, significant advances must be made in new tests and treatments.

“Patients do best when we find cancer early, when it is most treatable,” said Mills. “And when we find it, we will need treatments that are designed to manage each patient’s unique cancer. That’s precision oncology. Detection and treatment are inextricably linked, and we must take a collaborative and integrated approach to research to optimally benefit the people of Oregon, our patients at OHSU, and more broadly, patients around the world who can benefit from new discoveries.”

Mills appreciates the support from the Drinkwards, and from the Portland community.

“It’s exciting to find the community in Portland is supportive of making the Knight Cancer Institute a premier cancer institute on the West Coast, with the goal of becoming one of the leading institutes in the world,” he said. “We are grateful to the Drinkwards for putting their confidence in our ability to ensure that the Knight Cancer Institute provides cancer patients the best chance to survive their cancer. I’m glad they want to take this journey with us.”

Read more about Dr. Mills on our blog:

Meet Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D.

Video: Gordon Mills on the next revolution in cancer

Video: Gordon Mills on the impact of philanthropy on cancer science