REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Ribbon Cutting
September 7, 2018
Good morning, and thank you Dr. Jacobs for that very generous introduction. I want to take the opportunity to welcome you to OHSU. We are so excited to have you here.
I am so incredibly pleased to be here today. There are so many who have played a huge role in reaching this milestone. Thank you to the Knights for the incredible gift. Thank you to OHSU leadership. Thank you to the thousands of Oregonians who donated. And thank you to the Oregon Legislature, who stepped up to the plate.
Today, I’m so excited to see 650 researchers and staff settling into this beautiful new facility. From these halls, they will continue to expand their work to defeat cancer. With 320,000 square feet at their disposal, they will no longer push the boundaries of their research space. They will push the boundaries of science.
I believe all Oregonians should have access to quality and affordable health care, regardless of who they are or where they live. And this center helps keep that promise. And helps keep Oregon on the cutting edge of health care.
For nearly a decade, we have been building a patient-centered, coordinated, community-based health care system. A system that focuses on improving health while also improving the quality of health care. We have seen remarkable gains, but there is still much more work to do.
That work starts in places like the Knight Cancer Center. It starts by breaking down silos and preconceived notions. It starts by approaching longstanding problems from new angles.
When we ask people to work together in innovative ways, we see better outcomes.
You may think that this facility was built for research, for tightly controlled trial and error. But it was really designed for dreaming. Dreaming of a better world—a healthier world, where more people get the chance to survive, and thrive, in spite of cancer.
This is a disease that has impacted all of us. My mother, sister, and sister-in-law have all battled breast cancer. A close friend is struggling with another form of cancer as we speak.
Everyone deserves a healthy life.
There are patients here today who can tell you what it means to get treatment. It means chemotherapy, it means surgery, it means a doctor’s expertise and life-saving medications. It means options beyond the traditional treatments. It means more and more cancer survivors.
Most importantly, it means hope.
That hope is monumentally important. While patients and care providers and researchers fight cancer, I’ll continue to make sure every Oregonian has access to health care and the ability to thrive.
And now, it’s my pleasure to introduce one of the soldiers in that fight, one of the medical professionals who is the lifeblood of OHSU and the Knight Cancer Center.
Through his pioneering research and drug development in precision medicine, Dr. Brian Druker has revolutionized the treatment of cancer. Gleevec is the first drug to target cancer while leaving healthy cells unharmed. It has turned a once-fatal cancer, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, into a manageable condition.
We have all been watching Dr. Druker’s progress with pride and awe. He has been recognized with numerous awards, including:
• the Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research
• the Japan Prize in Healthcare and Medical Technology
• and most recently, the 2018 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science
Dr. Druker’s discovery became a new proof of principal for targeted therapies, spurring the development of more than fifty similar therapies for other cancers.
His research is amazing. The potential reach of the therapies it informs and inspires is astounding.
But more important than accolades and the studies are the lives he has saved.
I don’t know how many patients’ lives he has touched, but I have met some of them, and I think their words speak best. I’d like to share some from Hai Pham, a pediatric dentist who has CML.
“Compassionate, patient and humble are the first three words that come to mind when I think of Dr. Brian Druker.
“His creation of Gleevec has revolutionized how we all view and treat cancer around the world. He gave me the gift of life and I have not wasted it. He told me four years ago, that I would most likely die of something other than the chronic leukemia that I live with.
“Before that moment I had stopped living life because I had feared that the cancer would come back. But from that moment on I started to be more spontaneous and live life to its fullest. Eventually I fell in love and just married my best friend on August 18.
“Dr. Druker has also given me a chance to provide care to my own pediatric patients. And through my interactions with him as a patient that has helped shape me into the clinician I am today.
“All I can say is I am forever in your debt and thank you on behalf of all of the patients’ lives and families you have touched.”
Dr. Druker, we appreciate all that you have done to make the world healthier and happier. Thank you.
And now I’d like to welcome Dr. Druker up to the stage.