A passion to finish cancer

The Earle A. Chiles Research Institute is a world-class research facility dedicated to discovering curative therapies for cancer patients. Located within Providence Cancer Institute in Portland, Ore., our main area of investigation is cancer immunotherapy, a specialized field of study focused on harnessing the innate power of the immune system to cure cancer.

Established in 1987 through a collaboration between the Chiles Foundation and Providence Health & Services, cancer research was made the primary focus in 1993 with the recruitment of Walter J. Urba, M.D., Ph.D. from the National Cancer Institute. Under Dr. Urba’s leadership, cancer immunotherapy research has flourished through the generosity of Robert W. Franz and Elsie Franz Finley, benefactors of the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center created in 1996. Today, we garner more than $4.5 million annually in federal, private and sponsored research funding with a staff of more than 100.


A team of internationally-recognized experts

Our world-renowned team of scientists and clinical researchers has forged breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy. Our research discoveries have led to the formation of two biotech companies and partnerships with leading medical, research and industry institutions worldwide. We are a founding member of the Bristol-Myers Squibb International Immuno-Oncology Network, one of 30 centers included in the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network and are a member of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program via the Pacific Cancer Research Consortium.

We have a proven track record of investigator-initiated, cooperative group and industry-sponsored clinical trials. Dr. Urba served as senior author and principal investigator on the international trial that led to the first immunotherapy drug approved for patients with melanoma – ipilimumab. This was the first therapy to improve survival of patients with melanoma. And, its approval by the FDA was a watershed moment and an important milestone for the oncology community.

We have initiated numerous first-in-human trials including anti-OX40, a promising immunotherapy agent developed at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute by Andrew Weinberg, Ph.D., as well as a novel, bacterial-based vaccine for glioblastoma multiforme (brain cancer); alpha-TEA, a vitamin E analog proven effective on breast cancer in pre-clinical models; and combination stereotactic body radiation therapy with immunotherapy for patients with advanced metastatic melanoma.

To learn more about our leading-edge research, view our annual reports.