PORTLAND — Oregon Health & Science University says it’s closer to matching Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s challenge for cancer research with the help of a new $100 million donation.
The gift from a donor who asked to remain anonymous puts the Portland school’s campaign over the $400 million mark, officials said Monday.
Last year, Knight offered $500 million to OHSU if it could raise an equal amount by Feb. 4, 2016.
Including the new gift, OHSU has collected more than $218 million in private pledges and donations from more than 5,800 supporters. The Oregon Legislature has added $200 million more to help meet the goal.
“It’s an extraordinary boost in confidence that we’re going to complete the match,” said Dr. Brian Druker, director of OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute, which was named for Knight following a $100 million gift in 2008.
The funding would go toward research on early detection and treatment of cancer, including the hiring of 20 to 30 top scientists and their teams.
With the goal closer the completion, OHSU has begun to recruit the scientists, plan the buildings, and put together a strategic plan, Druker said. The school plans to build two buildings on its South Waterfront campus — one dedicated entirely to the research, and another where several floors will house clinical trials.
The school has launched an international search for the key recruit — the scientist that will lead the research program. It’s also pulling together a think tank this fall of cancer researchers to zero in on opportunities and challenges in the field and new technologies that need to be developed, and to identify potential scientists to recruit.
“Our goal is to gain understanding of what drives the growth of cancer and the ability to detect it in the earliest, most curable stages,” Druker said.