In 1948, St. Mary's Hospital and Dr. Geno Saccomanno, MD, Ph.D established the first pathology services on the Western Slope of Colorado, servicing patients within a large geographic region including western Colorado and eastern Utah. Dr. Saccomanno's research interest on the effects of cigarette smoking and radon exposure in lung cancer, especially among uranium miners, led to numerous federally funded, internationally recognized research studies and ultimately the establishment of one of the largest lung cancer tissue banks of its kind in the world. Because of the uniqueness of these studies and tissue bank, and the expertise of local pathologists and cytologists in lung cancer diagnosis, in 1993 the St. Mary's Hospital Cancer Research Institute was opened to further expand upon Dr. Saccomanno's research, with a major focus being early lung cancer detection. In 1997 the Cancer Research Institute was formally renamed the Saccomanno Research Institute to recognize the efforts of Dr. Saccomanno in the fight against cancer. As a continuation of Dr. Saccomanno's legacy, the Saccomanno Research Institute today is a center of biomedical research where scientists and physicians work together integrating basic science and clinical research toward the development of new and better diagnostics and treatments for cancer.