Research Network for Metals in Medicine



Dr Carleen Cullinane

Position: Manager, Pharmacology and Developmental Therapeutics Unit

Affiliation: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Postal Address:
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Locked Bag 1, A'Beckett Street
Victoria, 8006

Phone: +61 (03) 9656 1111

Research Profile

Dr Cullinane has made significant contributions in the area of pre-clinical assessment of anticancer drugs, in particular the DNA interactions of anthracycline and platinum agents. Upon commencing a postdoctoral appointment in 1994 at the NIH, she investigated mechanistic aspects of the nucleotide excision repair pathway, the major pathway involved in the repair of DNA damage induced by platinum drugs. After returning to Australia in 1996 she worked at La Trobe University investigating the role of DNA crosslinks in the mechanism of action of doxorubicin before moving to the Peter Mac. Since 2001 she has headed the Andrew Durant Drug Testing Facility at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The facility provides in vitro screening of compounds for potential antitumour activity and in vivo testing antitumour activity for numerous academic and industry associates. The cell culture screening program has involved the testing of many hundreds of synthetic (many of which are platinum based) and natural compounds using a variety of screening techniques. In vivo drug testing has involved evaluation of the antitumour activity of compounds using a range of xenograft and syngeneic tumour models. The facility has also provided ISO/IEC 17025 accredited bioanalytical services for clinical pharmacokinetic studies. Dr Cullinane collaborates extensively with the pharmaceutical industry on a contract basis to perform work in the above areas. She has published 38 refereed papers and the goal of her research group is to develop either new or improved combination therapies based on an understanding of the molecular basis of the interactions between individual components of the therapy

Selected Publications

  1. Solomon B, McArthur GA, Cullinane C, Zalcberg, J, Hicks R (2003) Applications of positron emission tomography in the development of molecular targeted cancer therapeutics. BioDrugs. 17: 339-54.
  2. Solomon B, Hagekyriakou J, Trivett MK, Stacker SA, McArthur GA and Cullinane C (2003) EGFR blockade with ZD1839 (Iressa) potentiates the antitumor effects of single and multiple fractions of ionising radiation in human A431 squamous cell carcinoma. Int. J. Radiation Oncol. Biol. Phys. 55 713-723
  3. Moufarij, MA, Phillips DR and Cullinane C (2003) Gemcitabine potentiates cisplatin cytotoxicity and inhibits repair of cisplatin-DNA damage in ovarian cancer cell lines Mol. Pharmacol. 63 862-869
  4. Cullinane C, Deacon, GB, Drago, PR, Hambley TW, Nelson, KT and Webster LK (2002) Preparation and cell growth inhibitory activity of [PtR2L2] (R= polyfluorophenyl, L2 = diene, cyclohexane-1,2-diamine (chxn) or cis- (dimethyl sulfoxide)2) and the X-ray crystal structure of [Pt(C6 F5)2(cis-chxn)] J. Inorg. Biochem. 89 293-301
  5. Talarico, T, Cullinane, C, Gray, PJ, Webster, LK, Deacon, GB and Phillips, DR. (2001) Nuclear and mitochondrial distribution of organoamidoplatinum (II) DNA lesions in cisplatin sensitive and resistant adenocarcinoma cells Anti Cancer Drug Des. 16, 135-141
  6. Wheate, NJ, Cullinane, C, Webster LK and Collins, JG. (2001) Synthesis, cyotoxicity, cell uptake and DNA interstrand crosslinking of Dpzm linked multinuclear platinum anti-cancer complexes Anti Cancer Drug Des. 16, 91-98
  7. Perrin, LC, Prenzler PD, Cullinane C, Phillips, DR, Denny, WA and McFadyen WD. (2000) DNA targetted platinum complexes: synthesis, cytotoxicity and DNA interactions of cis-dichloroplatinum(II) complexes tethered to phenazine-1-carboxamides J. Inorg. Biochem. 81 111-117
  8. Cullinane, C, Mazur, SJ, Essigmann, JM, Phillips, DR. and Bohr, VA. Inhibition of RNA polymerase II transcription by DNA damage induced by cisplatin. Biochemistry 38 6204-6212 (1999)


  • Drug screening in vitro growth inhibition In vivo antitumour activity in syngeneic and xenograft models
  • Analytical assays, NATA accredited to ISO/IEC17025 for Medical testing HPLC, LCMS, AAS assay development, validation and application
  • Preclinical pharmacology Pharmacokinetics, metabolism and biodistribution

International Linkages

Prof Nick Farrell (Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)