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Hormel Institute gets $150,000 for lung cancer research

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Dr. Luke Hoeppner

Dr. Luke Hoeppner.  Photo courtesy of The Hormel Institute.

AUSTIN, Minn. – A $150,000 grant will help The Hormel Institute to study predictive biomarkers and new therapeutic strategies to prevent drug resistant lung cancer progression.

The money from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation in partnership with lung cancer patient advocacy group, EGFR Resisters is going to Dr. Luke Hoeppner, Associate Professor and leader of the Cancer Biology research section at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, and his team.

The Hormel Institute says non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and worldwide.  Most cases are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced and the prognosis is poor.  The Hormel Institute says NSCLC patients benefit from treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).  While EGFR inhibitor drugs work very well for the first several years of treatment, many patients eventually develop resistance to EGFR TKIs and the cancer then progresses rapidly.  This grant allows Dr. Hoeppner and his team to continue moving forward on their research focused on discovering how lung cancer becomes resistant to EGFR targeted therapy.

“The short-term impact of our work is understanding mechanisms of resistance to treatment, which will help us to predict and prevent EGFR-targeted therapy resistance. The long-term impact of our work lays the foundation for the development of new predictive markers to assist physicians and patients make the best treatment decisions. Successful completion of the studies has the potential to lead to breakthroughs in predicting and preventing progression of EGFR TKI–refractory lung cancer and may lead to future clinical trials to treat NSCLC,” says Dr. Hoeppner.

This research project started with philanthropic funding from a Windfeldt Cancer Research Award, which allowed Dr. Hoeppner and his team to collect the preliminary data necessary to secure the Lung Cancer Research Foundation grant. 

“Support from Tom and Carol Windfeldt was instrumental in being awarded this new grant. Without their support, we would not have been able to launch this project and obtain the proof of concept data that was essential to be awarded Lung Cancer Research Foundation funding,” says Dr. Hoeppner.

The Hormel Institute’s Sk. Kayum Alam, PhD, and Li Wang, PhD, also made key contributions to the studies that secured this grant funding and will continue to play an important role in this research.

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