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Quick Facts

Huntsman Cancer Institute

The mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is to understand cancer from its beginnings, to use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, to relieve the suffering of cancer patients, and to provide education about cancer risk, prevention, and care.

Huntsman Cancer Institute Quick Facts PDF

  • HCI was founded in 1995 by the Jon M. and Karen Huntsman family.
  • HCI is wholly owned by the state of Utah and is designated by the legislature as the official cancer center of Utah.
  • HCI’s campus includes state-of-the-art cancer research space and a cancer hospital that utilizes a team approach to cancer care.
  • HCI hosts more than 125,000 patient visits annually.
  • HCI operates several clinics that focus on patients with a family history of breast, colon, melanoma, pancreas, and prostate cancers.
  • HCI operates the only Phase I clinical research program in the region. More than 200 clinical trials are open for enrollment at any given time.
  • HCI has more than 170 research teams who study all aspects of cancer.
  • HCI researchers have identified more cancer-causing genes than any other cancer center in the world – genes responsible for breast and ovarian cancer, colon cancer, head and neck cancers, and melanoma.
  • HCI has provided patient and prevention education to more than 1 million residents from all 50 states and every continent except Antarctica.
  • HCI holds Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
  • HCI is the only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. It serves the largest geographic region of all centers, covering Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming.
  • HCI operates community clinics in Farmington and South Jordan, Utah. It also has five hospital affiliations in surrounding states.
  • HCI manages the Utah Population Database (UPDB), the largest genetic database in the world. The UPDB includes information on more than 9 million people, linked to genealogies; health records; and birth, death, and marriage records.
  • HCI is ranked among the Best Hospitals for Cancer by U.S. News and World Report.

Facts about Cancer 

Facts About Cancer PDF

  • This year, 1,688,780 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the United States. 10,990 new cases are expected in Utah.
  • 600,920 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2017 – almost 1,650 people per day. Almost 9 Utahns per day are expected to die of cancer in 2017 – a total of 3,180 people.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in both Utah and the United States. Only heart disease causes more deaths.
  • In Utah, the top five diagnosed cancers are prostate, breast, melanoma of the skin, colorectal, and lung.
  • Men have slightly less than a 1-in-2 lifetime risk of developing cancer; for women, the lifetime risk is a little more than 1 in 3.
  • Although cancer in children is uncommon, it is the second leading cause of childhood death.
  • The greatest risk factor for cancer is age. About 87 percent of all cancers are diagnosed in people 50 or older.
  • Utah has the highest incidence rate of melanoma in the U.S. and a much higher incidence rate of thyroid and prostate cancers than other states.
  • Smoking is estimated to cause 32 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States.
  • The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that 20 percent of the cancer cases in the United States are due to the combined effects of excess alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and excess weight.
  • More than 15.5 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive on January 1, 2016.
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) esti­mates that the direct medical costs (total of all health care expenditures) for cancer in the United States in 2014 were $87.8 billion.

Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2017 - American Cancer Society

Huntsman Cancer Foundation

Huntsman Cancer Foundation Quick Facts PDF

  • In 1995, the Jon and Karen Huntsman family started Huntsman Cancer Foundation to ensure the future of cutting-edge research at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah.
  • Huntsman Cancer Foundation’s sole purpose is to raise funds to support the mission of HCI.
  • All HCI fundraising initiatives occur through Huntsman Cancer Foundation, which is a public, functionally-integrated, Type III 501(c)(3) organization. 
  • Due to the generosity of the Jon M. Huntsman family in underwriting all fundraising expenses, 100 percent of all donations further the treatment, education, and research being conducted at HCI.
  • Huntsman Cancer Foundation’s Board of Directors includes Chairman Jon M. Huntsman Jr., University of Utah President David Pershing, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Zions First National Bank Scott Anderson.
  • One family cannot do it alone. Huntsman Cancer Foundation has received over 1 million gifts in support of the vision of the Huntsman family.
  • Through Huntsman Cancer Foundation’s Huntsman Heroes program, individuals and teams run, walk, ride, and fundraise while participating in events from 5Ks to marathons to 140 mile bike rides. 
  • In December 2012, Sigma Chi designated the Huntsman Cancer Foundation as its sole preferred philanthropic partner. To date, over $5 million dollars has been raised through this partnership.

Primary Children’s and Families’ Research Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute

Primary Children’s and Families’ Research Center at HCI Quick Facts PDF

  • The new research building expands Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) by 225,000 square feet, doubling HCI research space. The added space allows HCI to sharpen its research focus on pediatric cancers and cancers that run in families.
  • The building will house many unique resources and technologies, including cancer biostatistics, genetic counseling, genomics and bioinformatics analysis, research informatics, and the Utah Population Database.
  • HCI currently employs 1,800 faculty and staff. When the building is fully operational, HCI will have the capacity to grow to nearly 2,600 individuals.
  • The new building includes 276 new research lab benches. With this major expansion, HCI has one mile of lab bench space devoted to cancer research.
  • Exterior walkways and sky bridges connect the new research building with the original HCI research building and the cancer hospital.
  • The building exterior is designed to withstand winds of 115 miles per hour.
  • The building is LEED-certified. The landscaping includes four rooftop gardens to enhance energy efficiency.
  • The building cost $173 million to construct (including financing).
  • An independent economic analysis estimates the new research center will add $110 million annually in business activity and $59 million annually in real disposable personal income to the state of Utah.
  • Principal support for the expansion was provided by the Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Family, Huntsman Cancer Foundation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Intermountain Healthcare, and the State of Utah.

John M Huntsman

Jon M. Huntsman

HCI Founder and Principal Benefactor


  • Founder and Executive Chairman, Huntsman Corporation
  • Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Huntsman Cancer Foundation
  • Benefactor, Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University

Jon M. Huntsman, a native of Blackfoot, Idaho, is Founder and Executive Chairman of Huntsman Corporation, a global manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals.

Almost fifty years ago, Mr. Huntsman began a small entrepreneurial plastics packaging business. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging and, later, for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, its operating companies today manufacture chemical products used in a wide range of industries, with more than 16,000 employees and multiple locations worldwide. The Company’s 2015 revenues exceeded $15 billion.

Mr. Huntsman earned his undergraduate degree at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Southern California. He has been awarded thirteen honorary doctorate degrees.

Mr. Huntsman was a U.S. Naval Gunnery Officer. He served under President Richard M. Nixon as Special Assistant to the President and as White House Staff Secretary.

Jon Huntsman, characterized by Elite Traveler magazine as a “folksy patriarch” and “a cross between Mark Twain and Warren Buffet,” authored a book on corporate ethics entitled, Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten). The second edition is entitled Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times and made the Wall Street Journal’s best sellers list. His autobiography, Barefoot to Billionaire: Reflections on a Life’s Work and a Promise to Cure Cancer, was released in October 2014 to extensive acclaim.

Mr. Huntsman is widely recognized as one of America’s foremost concerned citizens and philanthropists. His lifetime humanitarian giving, including contributions to the homeless, the ill and the under-privileged, exceeds $1.5 billion. He has assisted thousands, both domestically and internationally.

He was named One of the Ten Most Influential Utahns in the 20th Century in 2000.

He was a member of the American Red Cross Board of Governors from 1997-2005 and from March through October, 2013. He also serves on the board of the Beaumont Foundation.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy placed Mr. Huntsman second on their 2007 list of largest donors. In 2011, Forbes Magazine counted him among the 18 “most generous givers on the planet.”

Mr. Huntsman and his wife, Karen, founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) in 1995 to accelerate the work of curing cancer through human genetics. Mr. Huntsman’s early contributions to Huntsman Cancer Institute amounted to $225 million. The Institute is now one of America's major cancer centers dedicated to finding a cure. The combined facility features leading-edge research laboratories and a state-of-the-art hospital treating cancer patients. The recently announced $125 million expansion will double the laboratory space and create the Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center, which will focus exclusively on inherited and childhood cancers. Today, approximately $1.5 billion has been directed to the building of HCI, almost half of which was donated by the Huntsman family.

Mr. Huntsman has served in senior leadership positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the past fifty years. His latest assignment was service as a member of the Seventies Quorum.

Jon and Karen Huntsman are the parents of nine children. They have 56 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.


  • 1954 Student Body President, Palo Alto High School
  • 1955 Awarded the Crown Zellerbach Scholarship to The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1959 University of Pennsylvania Student Alumni Award of Merit (undergrad)
  • 1959 University of Pennsylvania Spoon Award (most outstanding student graduate)
  • 1959 International Balfour Award (most outstanding Sigma Chi in US/Canada)
  • 1971 José Marti Brotherhood Award, from Cuban Americans, Most Respected U.S. Citizen
  • 1991 Armenian Medal of Honor
  • 1994 American Academy of Achievement
  • 1994 Kaveler Award, Most Outstanding CEO, Chemical Industry
  • 1996 Great Humanitarian Award, Freedom Foundation
  • 1996 National Caring Award, Caring Institute
  • 1997 Horatio Alger National Award
  • 1999 Armenian Presidential Award
  • 1999 University of Pennsylvania Alumni Award of Merit
  • 2000 Named One of Ten Most Influential
  • Utahns in the 20th Century
  • 2001 Entrepreneur of the Year, Ernst & Young
  • 2003 Humanitarian of the Year
  • 2004 Othmer Award, Outstanding Inventions in Plastics, Chemical Heritage Foundation
  • 2005 Giant in our City Award, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce
  • 2006 American Red Cross Excellence in Governance Award
  • 2008 Medal of Honor, American Cancer Society
  • 2008 Trustee Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2009 Chairman Emeritus, The Wharton School Board of Overseers (University of Pennsylvania)
  • 2010 Distinguished Public Service Award, American Assn. for Cancer Research
  • 2010 Inducted into Idaho’s Hall of Fame
  • 2010 National Award for Charity (Restoring
  • Honor Day, Washington, D.C.)
  • 2011 Service Above Self Award
  • 2011 WSJ’s Innovator of the Year Award
  • 2013 Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement, American Chemical Society
  • 2014 William E. Simon Award for Philanthropy
  • 2015 The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia’s Business Leadership Award (Bower Award)
  • 2015 Philanthropy Roundtable’s Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Award
  • 2016 Insider Magazine listed Huntsman as second largest contributor to charities in America;Fortune Magazine names Huntsman as 2nd most generous man in America. 


Click for Milestones PDF

1986 Cancer program at the University of Utah earns National Cancer Institute designation as a Cancer Center, with an emphasis on genetics research as a way to understand, diagnose, and treat cancer.
1993 Jon M. and Karen Huntsman donate $10 million to the University of Utah to establish a cancer institute.
1994 HCI receives custodianship of the Utah Population Database (UPDB), a resource for biomedical researchers that contains health and vital statistics records from several generations of Utah families.
1995 The Huntsman family pledges $100 million to construct a state-of-the-art cancer center.
1996 HCI breaks ground for a new 231,118 square foot research, treatment, and education facility.
1997 HCI joins the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of the world’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer.
1999 HCI building is dedicated; Patient Care Center opens.
2000 Jon M. Huntsman pledges $125 million to fund cancer research and construct the Huntsman Cancer Hospital.
2001 Construction begins for new hospital.
2004 Huntsman Cancer Hospital opens, featuring first full-field digital mammography unit, first PET/CT imaging unit, and first facial prosthetics lab in the Intermountain West.
2005 HCI and Intermountain Healthcare join forces to create the Huntsman-Intermountain Cancer Care Program, opening research opportunities to advance cancer care.
2007 Cancer Center member Mario Capecchi, PhD, wins Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for gene targeting research.
2008 Major hospital expansion begins.
2009 A donation from Jon M. and Karen Huntsman to the University of Utah establishes five Presidential Professorships in Cancer Research to commemorate HCI’s 10th anniversary.
2010 The National Cancer Institute renews HCI’s designation as a Cancer Center; HCI holds the only such designation in the five-state Intermountain West.
2011 Jon M. and Karen Huntsman donate $41 million to cancer research at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Huntsman Cancer Institute 156,000 sq. ft. hospital expansion opens.
2014 Huntsman Cancer Institute Breaks Ground for New $105 Million Research Expansion.
2015 National Cancer Institute awards HCI Comprehensive Cancer Center status.
2016 Vice President Joe Biden visits HCI to discuss the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
2017 HCI opens new Primary Children's and Families' Cancer Research Center. 

Huntsman Cancer Institute Expansion Facts 
Click for HCI Technology Facts PDF 

Technological advances help Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) toward its mission of improved patient care through progressive cancer treatment. Here are some examples of cutting-edge technology HCI offers.


Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (iMRI)
Currently used in brain tumor surgery, the iMRI is an MRI scanner that makes images in the operating room before surgery ends. If more tissue must be removed, surgeons can go back to work immediately. Previously, MRIs had to be taken after the surgery was complete, and if tumor tissue was still present, the patient would have to undergo another surgery. HCI's IMRI is the only one in the Intermountain West. Worldwide, only 20 are in operation.


Breast Tomosynthesis and Digital Mammography
Digital mammography records high-resolution images of the whole breast in a process similar to a digital camera. Breast tomosynthesis scans multiple breast images from different angles and composes them into a three-dimensional view. Breast tomosynthesis and digital mammography help physicians detect breast cancers more precisely, prevent unnecessary biopsies, and reduce call-backs for additional imaging. HCI is among a few in the Intermountain West to have breast tomosynthesis capabilities.

 deVinci Surgical Robot prostate Cancer

da Vinci® Surgical System
From a computer console in the operating room, HCI surgeons control small instruments that access a patient's prostate. More than 400 da Vinci procedures for prostate cancer patients have been performed at HCI, more than any other hospital in the Intermountain West. The system's precision and less invasive approach spares nerves and the bladder and aid in more complete removal of the cancer. Patients also benefit from smaller incisions and faster recovery time.


Combined PET/CT Scanner
This technology combines metabolic imaging from positron emission tomography (PET) and anatomic information from computed tomography (CT). The combined PET/CT scanner reduces the number of procedures a patient must undergo. It also allows physicians to view the metabolic activity of a tumor and evaluate its size, shape, and relationship to other critical body structures. PET/CT also reveals the extent that a cancer has spread, so doctors can properly stage and classify it.

 operating room

Minimally Invasive Surgery Rooms
HCI features two operating rooms equipped to perform minimally invasive surgery (MIS). In MIS procedures, doctors make small incisions through which they pass tubes that hold a telescope and video camera as well as miniature instruments for cutting, removing, and repairing tissues. Less pain, fewer complications, and quicker recovery create better patient outcomes with MIS compared to conventional surgeries.


Novalis® Shaped Beam Surgery™
Brain tumor surgery is technically difficult and poses risks of nerve damage. Radiation therapy provides a non-surgical way to treat brain cancers. The Novalis® is a linear accelerator that delivers precisely targeted doses of radiation powerful enough to destroy a tumor without harming surrounding structures. The technique is helpful for treating recurrent and metastatic brain cancers, as well as for tumors in surgically risky locations.

Our media relations representatives are here to help reporters Monday-Friday, 7:30 am-5 pm.

Debby Rogers
Public Affairs Manager
Phone: 801-587-7639

Amie Parker
Public Relations Associate
Phone: 801-213-5755

Jill Woods
Administrative Assistant
Phone: 801-585-5321
Fax: 801-585-0900

After-hours calls: Reporters calling before or after business hours on an urgent matter can page the University of Utah Health on-call media relations representative at 801-581-7387 and press 1.