The Hormel Institute scientist receives $150K grant for lung cancer research

(ABC 6 News) – A scientist at The Hormel Institute will receive a $150,000 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 and University of Minnesota, has received the grant from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation in partnership with the 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 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. 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.

“Molecules that can predict drug resistance, and therapies that prevent EGFR TKI–refractory progression, are urgently needed,” said Dr. Hoeppner. “To develop new therapies to overcome EGFR TKI resistance, we need to understand better how EGFR TKI resistance arises.”

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.

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