Knight cancer challenge met by OHSU

Phil Knight, chairman and co-founder of Nike Inc.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Phil Knight, chairman and co-founder of Nike Inc.

Oregon Health & Science University announced it fundraised $500 million within two years, earning them another $500 million from Nike's Phil Knight and his wife Penny.

The $1 billion will go toward a program that aims at detecting lethal cancers in their early stages—a shortfall within cancer care.

This challenge pledge is the largest ever documented to be met, according to Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Twenty five top researchers will be hired, and they in turn will hire up to 275 scientists and physicians. Financial support will allow the team to focus solely on research.

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"Today too many patients die or have to suffer through debilitating treatments because their disease is caught too late," said Brian Druker, the director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute—name of the venture between the university and Knight.

"Too few physicians and scientists are focused on this problem in a meaningful way and we are committed to filling that gap."

A large part of the initial $500 million comes from the state of Oregon, which donated $200 million.