Charles Blanke, MD, FACP, FASCO
Dr. Charles D. Blanke is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Hematology & Medical Oncology at the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. He also serves as chair of SWOG Cancer Research Network, an international group of nearly 6,000 physician-researchers that design and conduct cancer clinical trials. As part of the National Clinical Trials Network of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), SWOG is a worldwide leader in rigorous, large-scale cancer trials, with results leading to the approval of more than 14 FDA-approved drugs since its founding in 1956. Dr. Blanke is board certified in Internal Medicine and Oncology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Blanke is committed to pathway-driven, patient-centered cancer research. Since taking over as chair of SWOG in 2013, he has advanced innovation, inclusion, and integrity by launching a major lung cancer precision medicine trial, creating a leadership program for young investigators, forging partnerships with VA medical centers nationwide, and making the group more accessible and accountable by instituting term limits for committee chairs and launching The Front Line, a weekly blog available at www.swog.org.
Dr. Blanke previously had a particular interest in investigational treatments that target the genetic and molecular abnormalities that cause cancer. He was instrumental in the development and approval of imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) for use in patients with locally advanced and metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). Dr. Blanke currently chairs the Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) Task Force for the NCI's Gastrointestinal Steering Committee. He has also significantly aided the development of chemobiotherapy use in patients with advanced colorectal cancers.
More recently, Dr. Blanke has been involved with policy and research issues related to medical-aid-in-dying (MAID), including the decision-making process, demographic descriptions of users, and drug development. He is a member of the Life's Door Hope Hub, an international collaborative group dedicated to engaging and inspiring people to live with hopefulness and meaning in the face of illness.
Before joining OHSU, Dr. Blanke was vice president of systemic therapy for the British Columbia Cancer Agency, professor and chief of medical oncology at the University of British Columbia, and head of medical oncology at Vancouver Hospital. Dr. Blanke serves on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board of Directors and is a fellow of ASCO and the American College of Physicians. A SWOG member since 1999, Dr. Blanke served as subcommittee chair for colon cancer, then as chair of the group's gastrointestinal committee.
Dr. Blanke graduated first in his undergraduate class at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, then earned an MD with distinction from the same institution. He completed his residency at Gundersen Medical Foundation in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he served as chief resident. Dr. Blanke then was a hematology/medical oncology fellow at Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he served as chief fellow. He then served as faculty at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, while heading its clinical trials research operation for a number of years.