Lamar Lab at Albany Medical College Advancing EHE Research
The EHE community is fortunate to have Dr. John Lamar, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Albany Medical College, and his team, working to advance our mission to find effective treatments for EHE. Dr. Lamar’s lab, the ‘Lamar Lab’, has been actively studying EHE now for over five years with the support of the EHE community by way of grant funding, and today is a leading center of EHE research.
Dr Lamar’s interest was kindled from an existing broader interest in the YAP and TAZ proteins, either one of which plays a critical role in the onset of EHE. In 2019, the EHE Group, then comprised of the EHE Rare Cancer Charity (UK), The EHE Foundation, and the EHE Rare Cancer Foundation Australia, funded a small proof-of-concept study at the Lamar Lab entitled “Identification of TAZ-CAMTA1 Regulators”. The project results were positive with the Lamar Lab developing important tools for progressing research into the biology of EHE.
In the fall of 2021, The EHE Foundation awarded a 3-year grant to the Lamar Lab to investigate “TAZ-CAMTA1 Regulation by the Calcium Sensor Calmodulin”. Dr. Lamar’s efforts over the course of 2019 – 2021 were of course impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic; however, they persisted and published new findings. With continued interest and advancements, Dr. Lamar was subsequently awarded a $450,000 3-year grant with the objective to identify molecular pathways that can be targeted with existing FDA-approved drugs. This is exciting research that could lead to the identification and testing of already approved drugs that could more quickly be repurposed to treat patients living with EHE. Drug repurposing is so important for rare diseases, where large scale drug development and clinical trials are nearly impossible for ultra-rare cancers like EHE.
Dr. Lamar remains excited by the progress being made, saying,
“While there is still a lot of work to be done, the progress that has been made in the EHE field in the past few years is remarkable. I believe that if we can sustain this momentum, more effective EHE treatments are within our reach.”
Albany Med Health System featured Dr. Lamar’s research on EHE in an article titled, Research at Albany Medical College Brings Attention to Rare Cancer.
The Lamar lab is a collaborator with Dr Brian Rubin’s Lab at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Lamar and Ryan Kanai, PhD Student in the Lamar Lab have numerous publications with the Rubin Lab.
Dr. Lamar is co-leader of the annual YAP/TAZ and TEAD: At the Crossroads of Cancer workshop in Telluride, Colorado. First organized in 2017, this workshop brings together leading scientists to share data and ideas on YAP/TAZ and their interaction with TEAD.
To learn more about the Lamar Lab, the team, their work and publications visit their website.