SALT LAKE CITY — Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah announced the official opening of its Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center, a world-class facility dedicated to advancing research in cancer. Jon M. Huntsman also announced today a commitment from the Huntsman family and Huntsman Cancer Foundation to give $120 million to HCI.
The 225,000 square-foot expansion doubles HCI’s research capacity. Research enhancements include a biotechnology center, complete with the latest advanced genetic sequencing and imaging equipment. Scientists and researchers at the center will leverage the additional space and technology to study the leading disease killer of children, to trace familial cancers, to accelerate the development of new treatments and cancer prevention strategies, and to enhance training programs for the next generation of cancer researchers.
“This new research space is essential to HCI’s mission to relieve the suffering of cancer patients by better understanding cancer, and applying that understanding to the development of new ways to treat and prevent cancer,” said Mary Beckerle, PhD, CEO and director of HCI. “HCI is more committed than ever to accelerate progress against cancer. We will now be able to expand our research to address the most devastating cancer challenges, including childhood cancers and cancers that run in families. The work we are doing here in Utah will bring comfort and cures to millions of families around the world.”
The Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center will house many unique resources and technologies available to its faculty, including: cancer biostatistics, genetic counseling, genomics and bioinformatics analysis, research informatics, and the Utah Population Database. With the addition, HCI will have one mile of laboratory bench space. The new building has been designed to promote collaboration among the research teams, including a 120-seat auditorium, 30,000 square feet of contiguous space unifying the cancer population sciences research faculty, and public meetings spaces on each floor.
“From the very beginning, our goal has been to build an unrivaled cancer treatment and research campus that is at the forefront of scientific discovery,” said Huntsman. “With this expansion, we’re one step closer to realizing our vision to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth.”
Principal support for the $173 million project (inclusive of financing costs) was provided by HCI founders the Jon M. and Karen Huntsman family, Huntsman Cancer Foundation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Intermountain Healthcare, and the State of Utah. Throughout its history, more than one million individual donors have supported Huntsman Cancer Institute.
“Jon and Karen Huntsman have done more than anyone to bring world class cancer care and research to Utah,” said Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “Through their kindness, they have offered hope to thousands of patients and their families. This new research facility stands as proof that there is more reason for hope and optimism than ever before.”
The new building addition extends from the southeast corner of the original research area and marks HCI’s fourth major construction phase. The first phase, The Jon M. Huntsman Research Center, was completed in 1999, with three floors of research labs and a floor of outpatient clinics. The second phase, a cancer specialty hospital with 50 inpatient rooms, opened in 2004. In the fall of 2011, a major expansion to the hospital was dedicated, doubling clinical capacity and inpatient rooms.