Think of a physical trainer, constantly pushing you to strengthen your core muscles as you work toward achieving a solid foundation. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) looks for a solid foundation in its designated Cancer Centers, and NCI’s high standards push Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) to achieve the core strength of excellent, coordinated research and clinical programs.

National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Centers are the centerpiece of the nation’s effort to reduce morbidity and mortality from cancer. The designation places HCI among the lead institutions in cancer care and research in the United States and also across the world. With a catchment area that includes five Intermountain states, HCI also serves one of the largest geographical regions among NCI Cancer Centers.

Renae Hepler, Director of Research Administration

To receive Cancer Center designation, HCI must apply for and receive an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG). HCI (then called the Utah Regional Cancer Center) first received Cancer Center designation in 1986. At regular intervals, HCI must request renewal of both the grant and its Cancer Center status. In May 2009, reapplication came due. Following the grant submission and a site visit, HCI was ranked in the “high impact” category within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) peer-review rankings, with many essential characteristics receiving an “exceptional” rating—the highest possible.

Scott Lloyd, Senior Director of Finance and Administration, credits people at all levels of the HCI research community for this success. “Between two and three hundred individuals at HCI and across the University worked together to complete the proposal and prepare for the site visit,” he says. “The ‘high impact’ rating we received shows that HCI is on the right path.”

The CCSG grant proposal consisted of 1,066 pages.
Each copy weighed 11 pounds and was four-and-a-half inches thick.