Created: 09/02/2014 11:19 PM KAALtv.com
By: John Doetkott
(ABC 6 News) -- On Tuesday afternoon, a special delegation from Henan Province, China, visited The Hormel Institute in Austin to continue a partnership that started nearly two years ago.
Henan Province is home to one of the world's largest cancer research hospitals, and institute leaders said that provides a strong framework to build upon.
"They can provide very unique resources,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, director of The Hormel Institute. “They have a lot of patients, and for the researchers there's huge resources.
Dr. Dong said the group spends about $10 million each year sending their post-doctoral researchers to the institute, and researchers in both countries share information about their progress.
Since the group's last visit in 2012, the institute has secured roughly $27 million for a new expansion project that will double the facility's size.
But state leaders said they hope the partnership will help expand the institute's work much further.
"I think it's an exciting day,” said state Sen. Dan Sparks of Austin. “To have this partnership with the Chinese, to really try to put this on the global, worldwide map."
"Too often you turn on the news and you see conflict in the world. The fact of the matter is there's much we can do together,” U.S. Rep. Tim Walz. “Cancer is a scourge of humanity whether you be Chinese, American, or anywhere else. And when our two great countries can come together, we can pool our resources, we can get more for it."
Leaders with the institute said they plan to break ground on the new expansion project within the next two weeks.