1. Despite being smaller and younger than many of the top cancer centers in the world, Huntsman Cancer Institute is the world leader in discovery of inherited genes that confer susceptibility of cancer.
They have discovered mutations leading to neurofibromatosis, colon cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and paraganglioma, among others.
2. CEO and Director Mary Beckerle and the Huntsman family believe that Huntsman Cancer Institute will play a major role in the curing of cancer.
The institute is uniquely positioned for success. Its researchers work on the cutting edge of medicine and technology, and combine those formidable resources with a truly priceless one: the Utah Population Database. The database gives them mountains of data to analyze; it approaches 22 million records today. The next comparable database is in Iceland, and it contains 100,000 records.
Another important factor in their success is the freedom researchers are offered. There are cancer centers that can pay researchers more money or that are more prestigious. However, Huntsman Cancer Institute can offer researchers wide latitude to pursue their own projects, even long-term projects which are sometimes discouraged at other institutions. This freedom has helped the institute attract world-class researchers from all over the globe.
3. Huntsman Cancer Institute helps establish national standards for cancer prevention, screening, treatment, and recovery as a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
They are one of only 27 members in the network, which helps push quality improvements in cancer care across the United States, and is a world leader in defining what cancer care ought to look like.
4. Huntsman Cancer Institute has one of the only clinics in the country dedicated to genetic testing for children who may be at risk for inherited forms of cancer.
They can make suggestions for cancer screenings or possible involvement in clinical trials after testing for whether patients have genes that may lead to the development of cancer.
5. The researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute are very productive, and their findings are often put to use in clinical trials at the institute.
A great deal of the research at the institute is into the basic biological workings for different types of cancer because, once those are understood, it’s often easier to discover ways to throw a wrench in the works. Once possible treatments are proposed, they can be tested in clinical trials at the institute. 200 clinical trials are open at any given time there.
6. The institute is the only comprehensive cancer center in the intermountain west. It serves 5 states, with a service area range of about 17% of the continental U.S. landmass.
Because much of this area is rural or frontier, the institute has programs for outreach to areas outside of the area immediately surrounding its facilities. There are also programs for outreach to the seven native American tribes in the region.
7. Huntsman Cancer Hospital is a top-notch cancer treatment cancer.
We don’t talk about Huntsman Cancer Hospital very much at VLCM Foundation, just because our donations only support cancer research at the institute. However, it’s hard to talk about what makes Huntsman Cancer Institute great without mentioning the hospital next door that directly benefits from their research, and which is run by the same administrators.
Patient satisfaction at the hospital is in the top 1% of all cancer hospitals in the nation, and it provides more than just treatment to eliminate cancerous cells from a patient’s body. A short list of other services they provide includes peer mentoring, fitness programs, nutrition counseling, camps, art classes, cooking classes, massage therapy, music therapy, and education and support for caregivers who are often forgotten in the rush to treat cancer patients.
Another thing you might not know about the hospital is that there is more than one location for the same great health care. There are institute locations in Farmington and South Jordan, as well as clinics and affiliation hospitals ranging from Carson City, Nevada to Grand Junction, Colorado.