Nike Founder, Wife Issue $1 Billion Challenge for Oregon Health and Science University

in Portland has announced a $500 million challenge gift from philanthropists Phil and Penny Knight for a $1 billion cancer research initiative at the university's .

Phil Knight, chairman and co-founder of sports apparel giant Nike, and his wife gave OHSU $100 million in 2008 in support of the Knight Institute and another $125 million in 2012 for a cardiovascular institute. Their latest pledge, which must be matched dollar-for-dollar within two years, was made during an event that gathered four hundred of the institute's top supporters. In his introduction of Knight Cancer Institute director Brian Druker, M.D., Knight said "it is incumbent on every one of us to do what he or she can to keep the miracles coming."

Druker received the prestigious in 2009 for his leadership in the development of the first molecularly targeted anti-cancer drug, Gleevec, which some have credited for revolutionizing personalized cancer medicine. According to the Oregonian, Druker challenged the Knights earlier this year to give the institute $1 billion to develop methods to detect cancer as soon as it appears and then treat it before the disease spreads.

"This is a transformative moment, not just for OHSU and for Oregon, but for the people who matter most," said OHSU president Joe Robertson. "This is about changing the lives of cancer patients around the world."

Andrew Theen. "." Oregonian 09/21/2013. "." Oregon Health and Science University Press Release 09/21/2013.