OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon, is rated one of the top cancer treatment centers in the country. Offering promising treatments such as heated intraperitoneal chemoperfusion (HIPEC) for peritoneal mesothelioma and TTFields for pleural mesothelioma, the Knight is a top choice for mesothelioma patients.

About OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

The Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute — also called the Knight — is located on the university’s Portland campus.

The Knight is named after Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who, with his wife, donated $100 million in 2008. The gift was given to attract the most talented researchers to OHSU. Since then, the couple has also matched a $500 million university fundraising goal.

“In 2015, OHSU announced that it had achieved a $500 million fundraising challenge set by the Knights, raising $1 billion for cancer research.”
— OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

The Knight is led by Dr. Brian Druker, whose groundbreaking cancer research discoveries have advanced treatment options for all types of cancer.

The mission of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is to “end cancer as we know it.” In support of its mission, the Knight provides groundbreaking targeted therapy to patients with advanced cancer, including mesothelioma. It also focuses greatly on early detection, which can offer more treatment options and improved cancer care.

The Knight emphasizes the importance of multidisciplinary care for cancer patients. As a result, it has hundreds of fellowship-trained, specialized physicians to treat patients and provide insight into cases. The institute treats over 6,000 patients each year.

Knight Cancer is Oregon’s only academic health center. Its presence in the Pacific Northwest is vital for the region as the number of mesothelioma cases in Washington, Oregon, and California exceeds the national average.

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Quick Facts About OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Many mesothelioma patients choose OHSU Knight Cancer Institute for the following reasons:

  • The only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Oregon, an elite status awarded by the National Cancer Institute
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks it among the country’s best cancer treatment centers
  • Promising new mesothelioma treatments, including immunotherapy, HIPEC, and TTFields
  • Coordinated and collaborative mesothelioma treatment involving different specialists
  • A guest house for mesothelioma families who live outside the Portland, OR area
  • Early pioneers in “personalized cancer medicine” for cancer treatment
  • Groundbreaking research and clinical trials for mesothelioma and other cancers
  • A research program with about 1,400 projects annually that is housed in The Knight Cancer Research Building, a 320,000 square foot facility designed for collaboration

Patient Experience at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

All services take place in one location within the Knight Cancer Institute. Therefore, patients who require a diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, or support services will not have to transfer between various sites to receive care.

A wide range of support services and resources are available at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute to patients and their families, including:

  • Acupuncture: To help ease treatment side effects.
  • Animal therapy: Some in-hospital patients can request a visit from a dog or cat during treatment.
  • Classes and community events: Support groups, learning opportunities, and various classes are available to patients and their families.
  • Housing: The Knight offers on-campus lodging for out-of-town patients.
  • Language interpreters: Available in all languages, including sign language.
  • Nutritionists: On-site dieticians to help patients manage cancer effects and analyze their nutritional status.
  • Rehabilitation: To help patients recover from treatment and to improve their overall quality of life.
  • Shops and facilities: A grocer, 24-hour cafe, gift shop, and pharmacy are located in the building.
  • Spiritual services: A non-denominational sacred space is located in the building. Patients may also call a chaplain during challenging times.

The Knight Cancer Institute also provides social services and resources for financial planning, at-home care, palliative care, survivorship, and various forms of therapy.

The institute offers several knowledge programs, including cancer registries to participate in cancer research initiatives and the Patient Education Resource Center.

First Visit

Before your first visit to the Knight Cancer Institute, a care representative will contact you to discuss your appointment and answer any questions you may have. They will also confirm your insurance and billing information.

If you are undergoing surgery or another procedure, the Knight representative will tell you how to prepare and what items to bring with you.

Parking is free for patients and their family members and friends. There is free valet parking and RV parking available nearby.

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Mesothelioma Program

The Knight Cancer Institute uses a team-based approach to cancer treatment, including mesothelioma. Specialists in oncology, surgery, radiation, thoracic and pulmonary care, nurses, nutritionists, and other experts advise on cases.

“We start at the DNA, and then we work outward to the whole person. We can offer the most promising therapies for an individual cancer to patients right here in Oregon.”
– OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Collaboration happens both in person and virtually. For example, doctors meet regularly for “tumor board meetings” to review scans and lab results and collaborate about the best treatment options. Physicians also access Intel’s Collaborative Cancer Cloud, an analytical tool that makes millions of cancer cases available to help treat current patients.

Mesothelioma Doctors at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

The mesothelioma program at the Knight Cancer Institute currently includes the following doctors:

  • Dr. Ravi Chandra
  • Dr. Lisa Coussens
  • Dr. John M. Holland
  • Dr. Ted L. Huang
  • Dr. Nima Nabavizadeh
  • Dr. Paul Schipper
  • Dr. Mithran S. Sukumar

The mesothelioma doctors at OHSU Cancer Institute are among the best in the world at fighting this rare and aggressive cancer.

Did You Know?

Dr. Lisa Coussens is a leading expert on the use of immunotherapy for mesothelioma and is investigating new targets for therapy.

Connect with our Patient Advocates if you would like help getting matched with a doctor at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute or another of the top mesothelioma cancer treatment centers.

Patient Advocates are available 24/7 and can help answer your questions.

Mesothelioma Treatment Options at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute allows mesothelioma patients to access promising new treatments. These include heated intraperitoneal chemoperfusion (HIPEC) for peritoneal mesothelioma patients and TTFields for pleural mesothelioma.

“Electric field therapy, also known as tumor-treating fields or TTFields, is a promising new treatment for mesothelioma.”
– Knight Cancer Institute

Whenever possible, doctors offer minimally invasive treatment. In many cases, the medical team will suggest multiple treatments as part of an individualized plan.

Mesothelioma treatment options OHSU Knight Cancer Institute include:

  • Surgery: Video-assisted and robotic surgeries allow for less-invasive procedures. Some patients may be eligible for the lung-sparing pleurectomy with decortication, while others may benefit most from extrapleural pneumonectomy.
  • Chemotherapy: A chemotherapy regime is often used with surgery to kill cancer cells before and/or after the operation. For some patients, chemotherapy is used as a palliative treatment.
  • Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC): An innovative treatment technique that combines surgery (often cytoreduction surgery) and a warm chemotherapy bath.
  • Radiation: Doctors use targeted radiation therapy to apply treatment with precision and accuracy. Radiation may be used alongside surgery or as a stand-alone treatment. Your initial visits involve a consultation with radiation specialists and a “simulation visit” to plan how best to administer the radiation.
  • Immunotherapy: A more recent treatment option, immunotherapy uses the immune system to kill cancer cells with drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, such as nivolumab and ipilimumab.
  • Tumor-treating fields (TTFields): A wearable device that delivers mild electrical pulses instead of radioactive beams to kill cancer cells. The FDA approved this treatment in 2019. Optune Lua is the brand name of one such device.
  • Support Services: Many alternative treatments and support services are available at the Knight Cancer Institute, including therapy, exercise classes, support groups, nutrition, and spiritual services.
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OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Clinical Trials and Research

Cancer research and clinical trials are significant components of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, with over 1,400 research projects being conducted each year.

At the Knight Cancer Institute, researchers focus on four core areas of cancer study:

  • Cancer biology
  • Cancer prevention and control
  • Quantitative oncology
  • Translational oncology

“If we understand what drives the growth of cancer, we can target that abnormality with a safe, effective treatment.”
– Dr. Brian Druker, Director of the Knight Cancer Institute

OHSU is also involved in over 400 clinical trials. Mesothelioma clinical trials can be a pathway to breakthrough treatments that are not yet available to the general population.

Insurance Information

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute accepts most major health insurance plans. Patients should check with their insurance provider or the institute to confirm acceptance.

The Knight currently accepts health insurance plans, including:

  • Aetna
    • Coventry
    • First Health
  • CareOregon
  • Cigna
  • First Choice Health
  • Health Net
  • Health Net Federal Services, LCC –TriCare Program
  • Humana
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Moda (formerly ODS)
  • MultiPlan
    • Beech Street
    • PHCS Network
    • PHCS Healthy Directions
  • PacificSource
  • Providence Health Plans
  • Providence Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)
  • Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
  • Samaritan Health Services
  • Three Rivers Provider Network
  • Tuality Health Alliance
  • UnitedHealthcare

Financial assistance through the Knight Cancer Institute may be available to patients who meet eligibility criteria.

The Knight’s Financial and Medicaid Services department helps patients apply for state health care coverage and benefits. It also helps patients and their families navigate bill payments and insurance matters

Seeking Treatment at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is recognized as one of the elite comprehensive cancer centers in the country. With top doctors on staff and breakthrough mesothelioma treatment options, it is a top choice for many families.

To request an appointment at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, you can call the appointment line at 503-494-7999.

If you would like to speak with Mesothelioma Hope’s Patient Advocates for personalized help, connect with our trained mesothelioma team 24/7.

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Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. Any contact information listed is for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact OHSU Knight Cancer Institute directly.

Written by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

  1. Billing and Insurance. OHSU. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.ohsu.edu/health/billing-and-insurance

  2. For Cancer Patients. OHSU. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.ohsu.edu/knight-cancer-institute/cancer-patients

  3. Gibbs, A. (2020, October 14). Phil and Penny Knight receive philanthropic award from the Association of American Cancer Institutes. OHSU News. Retrieved December 10, 2022, from https://news.ohsu.edu/2020/10/14/phil-and-penny-knight-receive-philanthropic-award-from-the-association-of-american-cancer-institutes

  4. Lisa M. Coussens, M.D. (h.c.), Ph.D., FAACR. OHSU. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.ohsu.edu/people/lisa-m-coussens-mdhc-phd-faacr

  5. Mesothelioma. OHSU. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.ohsu.edu/knight-cancer-institute/mesothelioma

  6. OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2022, from https://www.cancer.gov/research/infrastructure/cancer-centers/find/ohsuknight

  7. OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. OHSU. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.ohsu.edu/knight-cancer-institute/about-knight-cancer-institute

  8. Research and innovation. OHSU. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.ohsu.edu/research-innovation/resources-researchers

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