Hormel Institute scientist receives grant to study ways to prevent lung cancer progression

Luke Hoeppner, PhD, Associate Professor and leader of the Cancer Biology research section at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, has received a grant from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation in partnership with lung cancer patient advocacy group, EGFR Resisters.

The $150,000 grant will allow Dr. Hoeppner and his team to study predictive biomarkers and new therapeutic strategies to prevent drug resistant lung cancer progression.  Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United states and worldwide. In most cases, patients are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced and the prognosis is poor. 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.

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. Community funded pilot studies like the Windfeldt Cancer Research Award are essential for scientists to develop early ideas to the point where they compete successfully for larger
grants such as those awarded by external sources like the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense.

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. Dr. Hoeppner’s grant funding started December 1, 2022 and will continue for two years.

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