Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) has always distinguished itself for identifying and supporting scientists with new ideas that could lead to lifesaving discoveries. Yet some of the most important ideas must be cultivated before they are eligible for the usual sources of cancer research funding. Because of generous private donations, Huntsman Cancer Foundation (HCF)—the nonprofit organization that supports HCI exclusively—is able to fund the most innovative ideas, transforming how we identify people at risk for cancer, achieve early diagnosis, and develop new treatments. Moreover, thanks to generous underwriting by the Huntsman family, 100% of these gifts support cancer research.
Donors like you are the key to moving the most promising science to the fast track.
Philanthropy—Where Breakthroughs Happen
In 2008, HCI researchers were on the cusp of new breakthroughs in treating colon cancer. Government funding cuts threatened to slow or stop this vital research altogether. Rather than allow this effort to stall, $2,400,000 in gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations made it possible to carry out the next phase of discovery. In March 2010, this investment in research was validated when the team was awarded a $12.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. Randall Burt, MD, HCI senior director of Prevention and Outreach and renowned gastroenterologist, says “The donated support became our program’s lifeline. More importantly, in a very literal way, it became a lifeline for cancer patients and those predisposed as well. Today we treat colon cancer in new ways that were not available two years ago.”
Read more about this important Colon Cancer Research in the 2010 Annual Report.
Sometimes people say funding cancer research doesn’t feel immediate or that it is tedious. They don’t want to hear about basic science or cells or that their money can buy a petri dish. It just seems so slow. But simply put, our friend Dov Siporin is alive today because of your bake sale, your golf tournament, your company’s campaign. Dov has become an advocate for cancer research while undergoing treatment for stage IV colorectal cancer at HCI. Read Dov's story.
Philanthropy—Where Lives are Saved
How do you broach the topic of cancer when a patient’s language doesn’t even contain a word for the disease? How do you promote the idea of basic medical testing when a person’s cultural belief suggests that asking for a vial of blood is like asking for a part of the soul? These are the questions HCI grappled with when facing a daunting challenge—how to reduce the mortality rate for the most chronically underserved of all touched by cancer, Native Americans. Native Americans bear the highest cancer mortality rate of any segment of the U.S. population.
In 2002, HCI launched a Special Outreach to Native Americans. Initially funded entirely by private donations, this successful, culturally sensitive program is run by Native Americans for Native Americans. Outreach workers, all of whom are enrolled tribal members, have advanced understanding about cancer prevention, its causes, and its treatments. They facilitate visits to clinics and hospitals for lifesaving treatment. They help make sense of the confusing maze of federal, state, and tribal health care systems. The project has proven so effective, HCI now receives federal grants to expand the service. With these resources, HCI continues to improve health care to those most vulnerable to cancer.
Read more about the Native American Patient Navigator Grant in the 2010 Annual Report.