Cancer researchers are reinventing clinical trials: Get the story at Knight School

The survival rate for all cancers combined more than doubled since the 1960s, a testament to the power of clinical trials that test new treatments in volunteers. But big challenges loom.

Pictured above left to right: Brian Druker, M.D., Eneida Nemecek, M.D., and Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D. (OHSU/Joe Rojas-Burke)

Cancer clinical trials continue to exclude far too many people, slowing progress. And cancer clinical trials have the lowest success rates among the major diseases. Less than 40% of cancer drugs tested in phase 3 trials prove effective, by one recent estimate.

To advance cancer early detection and treatment, researchers now are reinventing clinical trials. Learn more at the next installment of Knight School on Jan. 21.

Knight School is a series of public science talks designed to educate, entertain, and inspire audiences with stories told by Knight Cancer researchers, clinicians and patients. Register early to secure your seat.


Tomasz Beer, M.D., an oncologist specializing in the medical care of prostate cancer patients. He was selected as one of six top scientists to take part in a research dream team that joins together world-class institutions to study treatments for advanced prostate cancer.

Brian Druker, M.D., is the director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. The targeted therapy drug imatinib (Gleevec), ushered from lab to clinical success by Druker, transformed the outlook for people diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. A disease with a life expectancy of less than five years became a manageable condition with a life expectancy almost equal to that of the general population.

Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of precision oncology in the Knight Cancer Institute and one of the developers of SMMART, a platform for finding combinations of drugs that can stop tumors before they adapt and become drug-resistant. He has authored or co-authored more than 1,000 published research papers and is among the top 1 percent of all authors in medicine.

Eneida Nemecek, M.D., M.S., M.B.A. is an oncologist specializing in bone marrow transplantation and cellular therapies for cancer and other disorders affecting blood and the immune system. She directs the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, co-directs the Northwest Marrow Transplant Program at OHSU, and serves as the Knight Cancer Institute’s medical director for clinical research.