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Each year, lung cancer takes more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined yet receives the least amount of research funding of all major cancers.  We vow to do our due diligence in making sure you will be proud of where your money goes when donating to our cause.  And we hope that you are as excited as we are about the impact that we are starting to make.

Checkpoint Immunotherapies- Gundersen Medical Foundation


L4L has committed $15k over 4years ($60k total) to Gundersen Medical Foundation to support work on checkpoint immunotherapies research being conducted by Paraic Kenny, PhD, director, Gundersen’s Oncology Research Laboratory at the Kabara Cancer Research Institute. This research is looking at ways to help the body’s natural immune responses attack cancer cells. On March 9th, 2020, we received a report on the efforts of Gundersen’s immunotherapies research conducted by research scientists led by the director of the Kabara Cancer Research Institute, Dr. Paraic Kenny.  There are two key studies that were referenced in the letter:


First Study: the early support provided by Living For Liz for cancer genetic research at Gundersen helped to lay the groundwork that made Gundersen an attractive site candidate to the organizers of this national clinical trial.


Second Study: involved genetic sequencing which finds targeted therapies for patients. This process was made possible recently by the purchase of a genetic sequencing machine in 2016 with the help of Living For Liz, among other contributors.  Dr. Kenny concludes notes, “Your philanthropic investment in cancer research at Gundersen Medical Foundation has quite literally changed lives.  Without support from Living For Liz, these outcomes simply would not be possible”.

Genomics of Young Lung Cancer Research- Addario Lung Cancer Medial Institute


Genomics of Young Lung Cancer Research and is a part of the Addario Lung Cancer Medial Institute (ALCMI- pronounced ‘alchemy’).  One thing that we noticed when we started Living For Liz is that the lung cancer community seemed to notice a rise in the occurrence of lung cancer in young patients.  Another thing that we noticed was that there wasn’t any research trying to determine why that was happening.  The Young Lung project (happening both in the US and Europe) is trying to lay the groundwork to figure that out.  

Dr. Paraic Kenny and The Kabara Cancer Research Institute’s IonTorrent S5 Genome Sequencing Instrumentation

Gunderson Health System’s Kabara Cancer Research Institute has a strong focus on lung cancer research and on implementing the next generation of diagnostic tests that will match lung cancer patients with the newest targeted therapies directed at particular mutations in their tumor.

With support from Living for Liz and other local organizations, Dr. Paraic Kenny’s research group has acquired the very latest IonTorrent S5 genome sequencing instrumentation which will allow him to analyze the cancer-causing mutations found in tumors. In many cases, knowing the precise mutations present in a tumor provides a good prediction about which of the newer targeted agents might be effective for a patient. In its initial implementation, the instrument can sequence a total of 50 genes per sample, including many which play roles in lung cancer (e.g. EGFR, KRAS, ALK, BRAF, and MET). The sequencer’s first test run was in September 2016 and included three lung cancer specimens. Mutations were found in each case. Dr. Kenny is very excited to be involved in bring these new diagnostic approaches to La Crosse, WI.

Dr. Sunny Guin’s research group is focused on targeting important metabolic processes such as glycogen breakdown, which are important for lung cancer progression, as potential therapeutic strategy for treatment of lung cancer patients in the future. He is also developing techniques to culture lung cancer cells directly from patients’ surgical specimens. This will allow him to evaluate new treatment options in these patient samples. 

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