Scientist - California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute
Sean D. McAllister, PhD
Discovery and early development of non-psychotropic cannabinoids, novel cannabinoid analogs, and drug combinations to treat breast cancer and brain gliomas
The McAllister lab focuses on the endocannabinoid system and how it controls cell growth and programmed cell death, particularly in aggressive cancers.
He and colleagues have combined CB1 and CB2 (cloned cannabinoid receptor) agonists with non-psychotropic cannabinoids, to synergistically increase their anticancer effects in cell lines and animal models.
The non-toxic and non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion through differential modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) pathways. Both pathways lead to down-regulation of Id-1 expression implicated in aggressive or metastatic cancers of the breast and brain.
Ongoing collaboration with CPMCRI investigator Dr. Pierre Desprez is further exploring how CBD regulates the expression of Id-1 genes and proteins in breast, brain and other cancers, and how the cannabis compounds may be combined with other treatments for several tumor types—which may lead to more effective cancer therapies.
Dr. McAllister earned his bachelor's degree in Biology and his doctoral degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. McAllister's doctoral research focused on the interactions of cannabinoids with their endogenous receptors. He completed postdoctoral training at the Forbes Norris Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Research Center.
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Publications by Sean D. McAllister, PhDOpens new window in PubMed.
Representative publications include:
- McAllister, S.D., Christian, R.T., Lau, D., Zielinski, A., Allison, J., Almanza, C., Pakdel, A., Lee, J., Moore, D.H., and Desprez, P.Y. (2010). Pathways Mediating the Effects of Cannabidiol on the Reduction of Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation, Invasion and Metastasis. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. Sep 22. [Epub ahead of print]
- Marcu, J.P., Christian, R.T., Lau, D., Zielinski, A.J., Horowitz, M.P., Lee, J., Pakdel, A., Limbad, C., Moore, D.H., Yount, G.L., Desprez, P.Y. and McAllister, S.D. (2010) Cannabidiol enhances the inhibitory effects of D9-tetrahydrocannabinol on human glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Jan;9(1):180-9.
- McAllister, S.D., Christian, R.T., Horowitz, M.P., Garcia, A. and Desprez. P (2007). Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 6 (11): 2921-2927, November 1, 2007
- McAllister, S.D., Chan, C., Taft, R.J., Luu, T., Abood, M.E., Moore, D.H., Aldape, K., Yount, G. (2005) Cannabinoids selectively inhibit proliferation and induce death of cultured human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Journal of Neuro-Oncology (74):31-40
- McAllister, S.D. and Abood, M.E. (2005) Endocannabinoids and intracellular signalling. In Endocannabinoids: The Brain and Body’s Marijuana and Beyond. Ed: Onaivi, E. Taylor and Francis Books, New Fetter Lane, London.
- McAllister, S.D., Hurst, D.P., Barnett-Norris, J., Lynch, D., Reggio, P.H., and Abood, M.E. (2004) Structural mimicry in class A GPCR rotamer toggle switches: the importance of the F3.36(201)/W6.48(357) interaction in cannabinoid CB1 receptor activation. Journal of Biological Chemistry Nov 12;279(46):48024-37
- McAllister, S.D., Rizvi G., Hurst, D.P., Barnett-Norris, J., Lynch, D., Reggio, P.H., Abood, M.E. (2003) An Aromatic Microdomain at the Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor Constitutes an Agonist/Inverse Agonist Binding Region. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Nov 20; 46(24): 5139-52.
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Recent research on cannabidiol inhibiting breast cancer and clinical trials with cannabinoids