2012 Annual Report

Message from our CEO/Director and Founders

Mary Beckerle, PhD

Mary Beckerle, PhD
CEO/Director
Huntsman Cancer Institute

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is known throughout the world for our discovery of cancer-causing genes, innovation related to clinical care and research for families affected by cancer, and the impact on quality of life for those at increased risk of developing the disease.

This reputation is built on a strong foundation of research and expertise at the University of Utah. It is advanced by unique assets such as the Utah Population Database (UPDB), a collection of millions of genealogic, birth, death, and marriage records linked to health data. HCI has managed the UPDB for nearly two decades, and the valuable information it contains has been pivotal in advancing our understanding of cancer biology, prevention, and early detection. Discoveries made right here in Utah resulted in the identification of major cancer-causing genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2 (breast cancer), APC (colon cancer), p16 (skin cancer), and several others.

HCI’s discoveries in cancer genetics have improved the lives of millions worldwide. We were one of the first cancer centers to establish high-risk cancer clinics, providing families that have unusually increased rates of cancer with scientifically proven resources and strategies to understand and manage their risk. The impact is clear: for the first time ever, individuals were empowered to take steps to prevent the disease from ever occurring. For individuals who developed a cancer related to a tumor-causing gene, clinical treatments were tailored to be most effective. And our understanding of cancer in the general population has advanced significantly.

The 2012 Top Science Report describes some of HCI’s most exciting recent progress. We highlight just a few examples of accomplishments that embody our great strength in advancing scientific discovery in HCI’s labs and clinics, creating innovations in cancer care and prevention, and, ultimately, impacting human health.

You don’t have to take our word for it. Each of the stories described in this report were accepted for publication in some of the world’s most prestigious peer-reviewed academic journals. This means these top science highlights underwent rigorous scientific scrutiny by experts in the field—and they succeeded, standing above thousands of others submitted for consideration, singled out for their major contributions to the understanding of cancer.

Your support of this lifesaving work is essential to our success. Thank you for all you do to advance the mission of HCI. With your help, we truly make a difference for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Karen and Jon Huntsman

Karen and Jon Huntsman
Founders and Principal Benefactors
Huntsman Cancer Institute