Professor Brian J. Druker, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Director of Knight Cancer Institute,
Oregon Health & Science University USA
Professor Brian J. Druker, M.D. made a significant research discovery in the field of targeted cancer therapy. He developed a prototype drug called “Imatinib” for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Imatinib inhibits BCR-ABL, a specific protein that is only detected in cells of CML patients, not in a normal cell. This specificity can thus minimise a side effect during treatment. From a laboratory research, the drug has been tested on animals and humans and has been found to reduce severity, mortality and morbidity from CML. Without imatinib, CML patients usually deteriorate and die within 3 years. Currently, other drugs for targeted therapy have been developed for treatment of other cancers
The Prince Mahidol Award recognises the great discoveries by Prof. Brian J. Druker, for a prototype drug used for treatment of CML that advances the development of targeted therapy, and by Prof. Dr. Mary-Clair King, for identifying the most common and hereditable gene related to breast cancer as well as developing a breast cancer gene detection kit to provide effective screening and monitoring for people at risk. These findings demonstrate the high impact of basic research, diagnosis, and treatment of common cancers, and thus improves the quality of life for mankind and reduces the mortality rates of CML and breast cancer among millions of people worldwide.