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Reed Honors OHSU's Dr. Brian Druker With Vollum Award


Awardees are selected for their the perseverance, fresh approach to problem-solving, and creative imagination, all hallmarks of Howard Vollum's career.


Portland, OR (August 25, 2010)--Reed's division of mathematics and natural sciences has selected Dr. Brian Druker, the JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research and Director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Sciences University, as the 2010 recipient of the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology.

Druker will accept the award at Reed College's convocation ceremony on August 25. Awardees are selected for their the perseverance, fresh approach to problem-solving, and creative imagination, all hallmarks of Howard Vollum's career. Vollum provided major philanthropic support to Reed throughout his life after he graduated from Reed in 1936 with a degree in physics. For his senior thesis project, Vollum built an oscilloscope; he later went on to cofound Tektronix, which revolutionized oscilloscope design and became a world leader in test, measurement, and monitoring technology.

As part of a three-person research team, Druker developed a cancer therapy in pill form that is able to locate cancerous cells and prevent them from spreading.
Gleevec was heralded to be so crucial in the fight against cancer that when it received FDA approval in 2001, Time magazine dedicated its May 28 cover to the drug's commercial release. The headline read, "There is Ammunition in the War Against Cancer. These are the Bullets."

The survival rate of patients who have been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia increased from 50 to 90 percent after taking Gleevec. In essence, Gleevec works by locating a genetic defect within a cancerous cell and then preventing that cell from dividing. Unlike other chemotherapies, the nontoxic drug attacks only cancer cells while leaving other rapidly dividing cells unaffected. Gleevec is approved for the treatment of several forms of cancer and has aided over 200,000 patients worldwide.

Druker, along with research partners Nicholas Lydon and Charles Sawyers received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award in 2009 "for the development of molecularly-targeted treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia, converting a fatal cancer into a manageable chronic condition."

In addition to being the JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research and Director of the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU, Druker is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a professor of medicine, cell and developmental biology, and biochemistry and molecular biology at OHSU School of Medicine.

Druker is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society, and many other awards. He has coauthored over 130 publications in journals, including Nature Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Past recipients of the Vollum Award include Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Leroy Hood.