Discovery at Hormel Institute could change the future of lung cancer

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(ABC 6 News) – It’s a new step forward for The Hormel Institute and the journey to find a cure for lung cancer. A recent discovery by institute researchers and the University of Minnesota could lead to a new treatment.

Dr. Luke Hoeppner is one of the researchers behind the study. A study that found certain proteins can increase the risk of cancer cells. Hoeppner has been working on this for eight years and says basically, normal cells die. When it’s cancer, they don’t die and growth is uncontrolled.

“We use a variety of different models to study cancer. We have human lung cancer cells that grow in plastic peatree dishes and we have forms of the same cells that are sensitive to different treatments and resistant to treatments,” Hoeppner explained.

The new finding can help diagnose patients early with screenings. For some, that could be the saving grace.

“Part of the reason lung cancer is so deadly is that it is often undiagnosed at a late stage. We need more lung cancer screening. It’s not like prostate cancer or breast cancer where most people get screened routinely.

“So increasing lung cancer awareness is really important. I’ve had some family members afflicted with cancer so it’s important for me on a personal level.”

Eight years of research costs a lot of money and the study isn’t done yet. A number of organizations have given the study funding including the American Cancer Society.

Hoeppner said the next step is to target the specific protein that can cause cancer and ideally, find a new lung cancer treatment.