Hormel Institute and Compeer Financial Partner Up For Breast Cancer Research Project

(ABC 6 News) – One million dollars can go a long way, but the opportunities and research that are expected to come out of this partnership are priceless.

With the help of funding from Compeer Financial, an agriculture company that serves 144 counties, including southeast Minnesota, the Hormel Institute will have access to crops to use in their cancer research.

While Compeer Financial and the Hormel Institute agree that local crops are healthy for consumption.
These experiments are designed to ask one question: why?

By finding out why these crops are healthy can help prevent cancer in people long-term. Dr. Leena Hilakivi-Clarke has multiple roles with The Hormel Institute and the University of Minnesota. A couple include a Professor of Food Science & Nutrition as well as the Assistant Director of Faculty Affairs. She specializes in women’s health. She believes this partnership fills a need at The Hormel Institute.

“There’s lots of funding given to cancer research, but not prevention of cancer,” Hilakivi-Clarke said.

The first stage of experiments will focus on younger females consuming soy foods and milk to help prevent breast cancer later in life.

Eventually the research is going to involve clinical trials.

“We are recruiting young girls for the study and then performing the study and analyzing the data, so that will probably take a couple years,” Hilakivi-Clarke explained.

The Executive Director at The Hormel Institute agrees on the importance of this research.

“You have to understand why things work the way they do; if you understand why it’s healthy, you can make it better,” Dr. Bob Clarke said.

With funding secured, and plenty of research to look forward to, this research is expected to become critical in preventing breast cancer in females in the long run.

The Chief Mission Officer at Compeer Financial is excited for what this research could bring both for cancer research and for the company he works for.

“Our clients grow healthy food. We’ll be able to provide scientific evidence, and that’s what we’re looking to get out of this,” John Monson said.

Based on this research, other crops are expected to be tested for why they’re so healthy in our area and other cancers are expected to be tested on how to prevent them. One cancer that was mentioned that could be next on the list is prostate cancer.