Jason Olson, Deseret News
LAKE CITY — Using diplomacy that focuses on curing cancer, Jon Huntsman
Sr. has laid the groundwork to help build a network of cancer hospitals
in several countries, including nations in the Middle East.
told the Deseret News on Wednesday that he's been approached multiple
times in recent years by government and medical officials at home and
abroad who want to use the genetic research now under way at Utah's
Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) as the basis for establishing a
specialty cancer hospital in their areas. He said he has no estimate
for when these hospitals might be built.
and leaders in Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and China have all
expressed interest, as have researchers from several areas in the U.S.,
\"They don't have $50
million per year for research ... which is a black pit of (financial
losses), but it's absolutely essential in the medical world to make
progress. Without it, you can't move forward.\"
response to the queries, Huntsman officials developed a blueprint for
expanding the Huntsman Cancer Hospital at the University of Utah into a
network of similar hospitals in various parts of the world where
universities, municipalities or governments are willing to build the
\"We will provide the
architectural plans and layouts, train their doctors with personnel
from the institute and require them to meet specific standards of care
in order to bear our name,\" he said.
facility would be owned independently but would utilize HCI's
consulting and research for a $5 million annual fee, which would be
funneled back into HCI to fund ongoing research, Huntsman said. A
handful of sites are now negotiating with HCI to build such a facility,
he said. He declined to name them, noting that local officials in those
areas would make the announcements when the time is right.
the vast majority of cancers can be treated on an outpatient basis
through chemotherapy and radiation, the hospitals would be
self-sustaining financially and have full access to cutting-edge
research in order to continually update treatment protocols, he said.
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.
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.
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.\"
the two areas have broadened to recognize the greater expanse of health
issues in foreign policy and national security,\" Baktiari said.
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.\"
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.\"
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.
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.\"
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.\"
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