Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah announced the official opening of its $173 million Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center, a facility dedicated to advancing research in cancer.

The 225,000-square-foot expansion doubles HCI’s research capacity. Research enhancements include a biotechnology center, with advanced genetic sequencing and imaging equipment. Scientists and researchers at the center will leverage the additional space and technology to study cancer, trace familial cancers, accelerate the development of new treatments and cancer prevention strategies, and enhance training programs for the next generation of cancer researchers.

Resources and technologies available to its faculty include cancer biostatistics, genetic counseling, genomics and bioinformatics analysis, research informatics and the Utah Population Database. With the addition, HCI will have one mile of laboratory bench space. The new building has been designed to promote collaboration among the research teams, including a 120-seat auditorium, 30,000 square feet of contiguous space unifying the cancer population sciences research faculty, and public meetings spaces on each floor.

The new building addition extends from the southeast corner of the original research area and marks HCI’s fourth major construction phase. The first phase, The Jon M. Huntsman Research Center, was completed in 1999, with three floors of research labs and a floor of outpatient clinics. The second phase, a cancer specialty hospital with 50 inpatient rooms, opened in 2004. In the fall of 2011, a major expansion to the hospital was dedicated, doubling clinical capacity and inpatient rooms.