Jon Huntsman Sr. helps wage global war on cancer

Published: Thursday, March 4 2010 12:55 p.m. MST

self-sustaining financially and have full access to cutting-edge

research in order to continually update treatment protocols, he said.

The

concept has already been implemented locally by Intermountain

Healthcare, which has established specialty cancer wings at several of

its Utah hospitals in cooperation with HCI and the Huntsman Cancer

Center at IHC's flagship campus in Murray.

Word

that Huntsman is working to establish the network outside Utah came

during a conference at HCI on Wednesday, dubbed \"Global Perspectives on

Cancer,\" which included several researchers from the Middle East.

\"Cancer

is now the fastest growing killer in the region,\" said Bahman Baktiari,

director of the Middle East Center at the U. \"Previously, diplomacy had

been focused on political, military and commercial affairs, and global

health had been more narrowly included in a development perspective.\"

\"Today,

the two areas have broadened to recognize the greater expanse of health

issues in foreign policy and national security,\" Baktiari said.

Huntsman

said he has spent a lot of time with leaders in the Middle East, whose

oil-based financial resources could provide the funding for a cancer

hospital in cooperation with HCI. \"They're now in the process of

building some of the world's most modern and updated medical

facilities. They can afford the type of medical care that other

countries in Asia and parts of Eastern Europe simply couldn't afford.\"

Huntsman

firmly believes the partnerships that result from the network \"to save

or extend the quality and length of people's lives is the greatest form

of diplomacy that Americans can offer. It's substantially ahead of just

providing money for countries to spend, or even worse to have it wasted

on corruption. Every dollar here will be accounted for and they'll be

able to overcome this disease that's overtaken the earth.\"

The

initiative will also help fund research at HCI in perpetuity, he said,

noting the continuing need to raise $50 million in research funding

each year has become his \"full-time job\" for the past 11 years.

\"It's

been very difficult,\" both physically and emotionally, he said.

\"Through recessions and difficult times we've had to take out huge

long-term loans to help finance what's going on. We knew when we came

to Utah that it would be a long, hard struggle as opposed to locating

it at Duke or USC,\" which could have provided matching funds, \"but we

chose to come to Utah because of the great genetic database,\" and

because \"there was no cancer research center in the Intermountain West.\"

Half

of men and a third of women worldwide will have one of 200 types of

cancer in their lifetime, he said. \"If we ever reach the point where we

could eradicate cancer like they eliminated polio, that's our goal.\"


E-mail: carrie@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS