Director of Graduate Programs, Pharmacology & Toxicology Concentration
Adjunct Professor of Chemistry
Advisor, Summer Biomedical Research Program (SBRP) for Undergraduates
The primary research objective of this laboratory is to determine the mechanism of action and chemotherapeutic potential of novel agents that are derived from natural sources (plants, animals, and minerals). We are currently interested in examining the activity of cannabinoids and bioflavonoids.
Cannabinoids are a class of compounds that bind to and activate the prototypic cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2.The cannabinoids are derived from plant material [phytocannabinoids, e.g. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9THC)], animals [endocannabinoids, e.g. arachidonoyl ethanolamide (AEA)], or are synthesized (e.g. WIN55,212-2). Our specific goal is to examine the chemotherapeutic activity of the endocannabinoid, AEA. We have determined that AEA and its metabolic product, 15deoxy,Δ12,14PGJ2-EA, selectively induce death in tumorigenic keratinocytes while causing little harm to non-tumor keratinocytes. Current research in our laboratory is focused on detailing the mechanism of action and determining the in vivo activity of these agents using experimental techniques in the fields of molecular biology, chemistry, pharmacokinetics, and tumor biology.
Soderstrom, K., Soliman, E. and Van Dross, R (2017) Cannabinoids modulate neuronal activity and cancer by CB1 and CB2 receptor-independent mechanisms. Fron. Pharmacol. 10:720.
Ladin, DA, Soliman, E, Griffin, L and Van Dross, R (2016) Preclinical and clinical assessment of cannabinoids and anti-cancer agents. Fron. Pharmacol. 7:361.
Soliman, E., Ladin, DA and Van Dross, R (2016). Cannabinoids as therapeutics for non-melanoma skin cancer. Journal of Dermatology and Clinical Research 4(2): 1069.
Kiraly, AJ, Soliman, E, Jenkins, A and Van Dross, R (2016) Apigenin inhibits COX-2, PGE2, and EP1 and also initiates terminal differentiation in the epidermis of tumor bearing mice. Prostaglandins Leukot. Essent. Fatty Acids. 104:44-53.
Soliman, E. and Van Dross, R. (2016) Anandamide-Induced Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Apoptosis are Mediated by Oxidative Stress in non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: Receptor-Independent Endocannabinoid Signaling. Mol. Carcinog. 55(11):1807-1821.
Soliman, E., Henderson, K.L., Danell, A.S., and Van Dross, R. (2016) Arachidonoyl-ethanolamide Activates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Apoptosis in Tumorigenic Keratinocytes: Role of Cyclooxygenase-2 and Novel J-series Prostamides. Molecular Carcinogenesis. Molecular Carcinogenesis 55(2):117-130.
Van Dross, R., Soliman, E., Jha, S., Johnson, T., and Mukhopadhyay, S. (2013). Receptor-dependent and receptor-independent endocannabinoid signaling: A therapeutic target for regulation of cancer growth. Life Sciences 92(8-9):463-6.
Kuc, C., Jenkins, A., and R.T. Van Dross (2011).Arachidonoyl ethanolamide (AEA)- induced Apoptosis is Mediated by J-series Prostaglandins and is Enhanced by Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) Blockade. Molecular Carcinogenesis 51(2):139-49.
Van Dross, RT (2009). Metabolism of Anandamide by COX-2 is Necessary for Endocannabinoid-induced Cell Death in Tumorigenic Keratinocytes. Molecular Carcinogenesis 48(8):724-32.
Abu-Yousif, A.O., Smith, K.A., Getsios, S., Green, K.J., Van Dross, R.T. and J.C. Pelling (2008). Enhancement of UVB-Induced Apoptosis by Apigenin in Human Keratinocytes and Organotypic Keratinocyte Cultures. Cancer Research 68(8):3057-65.
Tong, X., Van Dross, R.T., Abu-Yousif, A., Morrison, A.R. and J.C. Pelling (2007). Apigenin Prevents UVB-Induced Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression: Coupled mRNA Stabilization and Translational Inhibition. Molecular and Cellular Biology 27(1):283-96.
Van Dross, R.T., Hong, X., Essengue, S., Fischer, S.M. and Jill C. Pelling (2006). Modulation of UVB-induced and basal cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression by apigenin in mouse keratinocytes: Role of USF transcription factors. Molecular Carcinogenesis 46(4):303-14.
Van Dross, R., Browning, P.J. and J.C. Pelling (2006). Do Truncated Cyclins Contribute to Aberrant Cyclin Expression in Cancer? Cell Cycle 5(5):472-477.
Van Dross, R.T., Hong, X. and Jill C. Pelling (2005). Inhibition of TPA- Induced Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) Expression by Apigenin through Down- Regulation of Akt Signal Transduction in Human Keratinocytes. Molecular Carcinogenesis 44(2): 83-91.
Van Dross, R.T., Yao , S. Asad, S., Westlake , G., Mays, D.J., Barquero, L., Duell, S., Pietenpol, J.A. and P.J. Browning (2005). Constitutively Active K-cyclin/cdk6 Kinase in Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus-Infected Cells. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97(9): 656-66.
Van Dross, R., Xue, Y., Knudson, A. and Jill C. Pelling (2003). The Chemopreventive Bioflavonoid Apigenin Modulates Signal Transduction Pathways in Keratinocyte and Colon carcinoma Cell Lines. The Journal of Nutrition 133: 3800S-3804S.
Van Dross, R.T. and M. Sanders (2002). Molecular Characterization of Recombinant Pneumocystis carinii DNA Topoisomerase I: Differential Interactions with Human Topo I Poisons and Pentamidine. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 46(7): 2145-2154.
Van Dross, R.T., Rao K., Eisenberg, E. and Sanders, M. (1997). Cloning and Characterization of the Aspergillus nidulans DNA Topoisomerase I gene. Gene 203: 169-174.
Ahmed Elhassanny, Ph.D. Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Kathleen A. Thayne, Research Specialist, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Daniel Ladin, Ph.D., M1 Medical Student, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Hussam Albassam, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Ariel Myers, Ph.D. Student, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Rene Escobedo, Undergraduate Student, Department of Biology
Other Student Researchers
Andrew Morris, Ph.D. Student, Department of Chemistry
Estefani Cota, Summer Biomedical Research Program
Estefani Cota, Summer Biomedical Research Program
Dr. Colin Burns, Department of Chemistry
Dr. Allison Danell, Department of Chemistry
Dr. LaToya Griffin, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Dr. Paul Vos, Department of Statistics