Led by principal investigator Samy Lamouille, Ph.D. the Lamouille Laboratory focuses on understanding how deregulation of cancer cell communication within the tumor microenvironment can lead to tumor progression and resistance to therapies, and is developing novel therapeutic strategies targeting cellular communication and metastases in human cancer progression. To carry these discoveries forward and pursue clinical trials, Dr. Lamouille co-founded Acomhal Research Inc. in partnership with Dr. Rob Gourdie.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a spatially and temporally regulated process during development that can be re-activated in an uncontrolled manner during cancer progression. During EMT, carcinoma cells undergo a complete reprograming at the transcription, translation and post-translation levels that leads to dissolution of cell-cell junctions and acquisition of invasive characteristics that promotes cancer cell dissemination to form metastases. In addition, EMT is associated with the generation of cancer stem cells that are resistant to chemotherapies and therefore participate to tumor recurrence following treatment.
The Lamouille Lab is particularly interested in studying channel-dependent and -independent roles of the gap-junction proteins connexins during EMT and in cancer stem cells. Transforming Growth Factor-β (TGF-β) is a potent inducer of EMT and regulator of cancer stemness through Smad and non-Smad signaling, and crosstalk with other pathways such as Notch and Wnt. The lab is studying how these signaling pathways modulate connexins’ localization and functions in cancer cells that undergo EMT and in cancer stem cells, and developing novel therapeutic strategies using mimetic peptides to specifically disrupt protein-protein interactions that enhance the tumorigenic characteristics of cancer cells.
Meet the Lab
- Chris Hernandez, M.D., Carilion Clinic Internal Medicine Resident