Mayumi Nakagawa, MD, PhD awarded $3.6 million to expand HPV cancer vaccine study

Mayumi Nakagawa, MD, PhD

Mayumi Nakagawa, MD, PhD, was awarded $3.6 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to complete phase 2 clinical trials of PepCan, a breakthrough vaccine she developed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UMAS) to treat cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).

An internationally recognized expert in HPV immunology, Nakagawa is the Drs. Mae and Anderson Nettleship Endowed Chair in Oncologic Pathology and a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Sciences in the UAMS College of Medicine. She is co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program in the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

The Centers for Disease Control report that HPV is responsible for more than 90% of anal and cervical cancers, about 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers, and more than 60% of penile cancers.

While most HPV vaccines prevent the virus in people who have never had it, Nakagawa’s vaccine shows promise in treating women who already have HPV and are more likely to get cancer.

She has continuously received outside funding from numerous organizations such as the Cancer Research Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Nakagawa serves on various NIH study sections including those evaluating applications under standard mechanisms such as R01s and R21s, as well as applications under other mechanisms such as Specialized Programs for Research Excellence, Human Immunology Project Consortium, and NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.

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