The Oregon Health and Science University accepted the challenge Tuesday from Nike co-founder Phil Knight to raise a combined $1 billion in two years to build a next-generation cancer research program.
Knight and his wife pledged Friday to make an unprecedented $500 million donation to the Knight Cancer Institute if OHSU could match it.
OHSU leaders said the money will help them expand on exploration of cancer at the molecular level with an emphasis on creating better tools for early cancer detection and more precise diagnosis.
"The idea behind all this is simple: if we find cancer early, we can usually control it. If we find it late, we usually cannot," said Brian Druker, OHSU's top cancer researcher, in a statement. "There is no reason that a concerted effort by today's greatest minds can't develop early, accurate detection if they have the time, resources and collaborative environment that will make it possible. We will be the ones to make that possible."
This is the third gift to OHSU from Knight and his wife. A 2008 gift of $100 million went to the hospital's Knight Cancer Institute.
OHSU Foundation President L. Keith Todd said OHSU is now seeking partnerships with individuals and private and public contributors as they look to raise the $500 million needed for research.
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