Huntsman Cancer Institute's $100 million expansion will target children's and family cancers

Published: Friday, Nov. 1 2013 7:00 p.m. MDT

“We don’t know what tomorrow will bring us, so we will make the best of this day. That’s what we do until this day,” she said.

Carson’s treatments are going well, and Hancock said Friday’s announcement gives her hope. Her grandfather underwent treatment for a form of melanoma at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. The care and treatment was “amazing,” she said.

Watching her 4-year-old son go through cancer treatment has been “heart-wrenching.”

“I sometimes feel his childhood has been taken away from him,” Hancock said.

Beckerle said she was "absolutely thrilled on behalf of all cancer patients and their families that that the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, the Huntsman family and our partners are stepping up to accelerate our progress against this disease."

The Huntsman Cancer Institute is a world leader in cancer genetics, Beckerle said. Its scientists have discovered the inherited susceptibility genes for colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, and other forms of cancer, she said.

"We now understand that children's cancers also have a very strong inherited component," Beckerle said. "With our state-of-the-art technologies and largest genetic and population database in the entire world, we believe that, with this new facility, we're going to be able to move to learn more about genetic risks for children's cancer than has ever occurred in the past."

The Huntsman Cancer Institute is dedicated to push forward on its strong foundation of work with adult cancers, she said.

"But were going to be able to accelerate our progress based on our new scientific evidence that childhood cancers are inherited," Beckerle said.

While Huntsman said he is pleased with the signficant progress in cancer research and care coming from the institute, his goal from the beginning has been to "eradicate cancer from the face of the earth."

This project is the fourth major construction project by the Huntsman Cancer Institute since the inaugural cancer research center, with an outpatient clinic and an infusion lab, was completed in 1999. Next came a 50-bed cancer hospital, which opened in 2004. It was later expanded by 50 beds, opening in 2011.

"Hopefully we'll make this disease disappear one way or the other, and we're throwing everything at it we can in terms of dollars and in terms of wonderful scientific minds," Huntsman said.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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