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Huntsman Cancer Institute Eyes Middle East Expansion

By Chris Boyle

More than 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year in the United States alone, according to the American Cancer Society. Over half a million people will die from cancer.


Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is part of the University of Utah Health Care system and is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center.  The focus is on research, education and care, and its patron Jon Huntsman, Sr. and his wife Karen have already donated hundreds of millions – yes hundreds of millions of dollars – of their own wealth to support it.


In an interesting twist, Huntsman has pledged all profit from his 1,000-acre luxury real estate development Huntsman Springs in Idaho will go to supporting HCI (The Long Road Home).


A brochure for HCI states, “In the past, most cancer pathology work was performed using a microscope.  Today, high-powered DNA sequencing equipment is completely revolutionizing cancer diagnostics and care.  In short, what was thought impossible just five years ago is very possible today.”


The four-time cancer survivor, Huntsman is a good example that anything is possible.  Growing up in an impoverished farming community in Idaho, he has made a fortune by designing innovative packaging such as the original clam shell container for McDonald’s premium hamburgers.

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Huntsman Corp. generates over $11 billion in annual revenues and operates in over 75 countries, but in an era when corporate greed often makes the headlines, Huntsman says his philosophy is, “There is no more important human quality than sharing with others.  There is no source of true happiness more complete than an act of charity.”


Of course encouraging others to support HCI is a passion, and to that end fund-raising has involved endurance runs generating hundreds and thousands of dollars from thousands of individual participants to some 806 corporations than in 2012 donated $6.8 million.  Giving from 335 additional foundations raised just over $2 million.


The HCI mission is “to understand cancer from its beginnings, to use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, and to provide education about cancer risk, prevention and care. Among  the institute’s credits was to be one of the first cancer centers to establish high-risk cancer clinics for families that have annually increased rates of cancer.  Awards include The V Foundation for Cancer Research V Scholar Award, Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation Award and Damon Runyon Foundation for Cancer Research Awards.


By the numbers as of 2012, there are 170 faculty researches with more than 200 clinical trials open at any one time.  On a given day there are 52 inpatient cancer patients, 284 outpatient visits, 61 chemotherapy infusion treatments, 100 radiation therapy treatments, 14 cancer surgeries, 1,700 laboratory tests and 201 radiology procedures.


During a recent interview in New York, Hunstman disclosed there is strong interest in an HCI campus in the Arabian Gulf, where financial contribution from the host country and donors in the region will again help offset the tremendous expenses of medical research and treatment.

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