Doctor Known for Breakthrough Cancer Research To Join OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
Monday, February 23, 2015
Bergan is internationally well known for his work in mapping the spread of cancer cells throughout the body and his emphasis on preventative measures for the at-risk population.
Bergan’s recruitment is part of the expansion under way at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, as it nears completion of a one billion dollar fundraising drive launched by a $500 million pledge from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny.
Berger’s goal is to work with cancer patients in early and advanced stages to find the treatment that serves their particular needs the closest.
Early cancer detection is a natural progression of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute's work. Druker proved it was possible to revolutionize cancer treatment by targeting only the malfunctioning parts of cells causing the disease, leaving healthy cells unharmed.
"I was drawn to OHSU because the leadership shares my dedication to understanding cancer at a fundamental and molecular level. My goal is to work with the team at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute to create a framework that will enable us to better use information collected from each patient to design an optimal therapeutic strategy uniquely tailored to their disease,” Bergan said.
Bergan previously served as the director of experimental therapeutics for Northwestern University's Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center, co-director of the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery as well as a professor in the Department of Medicine.
He developed and led one of only five National Cancer Institute-funded early phase cancer chemoprevention clinical trials groups. Under Bergan's direction, this group has made two significant findings that are beginning to transform the field.
These breakthroughs include demonstrating that organ-specific delivery of drugs for cancer prevention in patients at high risk of developing the disease is not only effective and safe, but it can reverse fundamental changes in cells that trigger the creation of the disease.
Bergan's team also proved that the impact of preventive treatment can be measured using light-based technology. This work, in turn, showed the technology's potential to measure the effectiveness of treatments to reduce cancer risk in patients as they are receiving therapy.
Finally, he is also researching how chemicals can potentially interact with proteins as a means to accelerate precision cancer drug development.
Bergan plans to begin seeing prostate cancer patients, his area of clinical specialty, as early as this spring.