November 7, 2019

Mayumi Nakagawa, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Pathology, College of Medicine
Co-leader, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
Drs. Mae and Anderson Nettleship Endowed Chair in Oncologic Pathology

 Research Interest Statement

The main focus of our research is to develop a human papillomavirus (HPV) therapeutic vaccine for preventing and treating HPV-associated cancers. It is called PepCan, and it consists of four synthetic peptides covering the entire length of the HPV type 16 (the HPV type most commonly associated with cancer) E6 protein and Candida skin testing reagent as a novel vaccine adjuvant.

The idea of using Candida came about due to its effectiveness in inducing regression of warts (another condition caused by HPV) through activation of T-cells mediated by interleukin-12. Our pre-clinical studies demonstrated that women who are naturally infected with HPV had better prognosis when they developed immune response to E6.

There are two specific indications being tested in clinical trials at UAMS: (1) to treat cervical pre-cancerous lesions to induce their regression and (2) to prevent recurrence in head and neck cancer patients who have no evidence of disease after undergoing surgical resection, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. The first indication is in Phase II clinical trial, which has been open for enrollment for four years, and the other is in Phase I/II clinical trial that just opened. The goals are to demonstrate safety and efficacy, to understand immune mechanisms, and to examine the role of cervical, gut and oral microbiome in vaccine response.

We also have projects to determine how to effectively promote cancer prevention measures such as HPV prophylactic vaccination, Pap test, mammography and colorectal cancer screening through various venues, including the internet.

Dr. Nakagawa’s Cancer-Related Grants

NIH/NCI: 5R01CA143130-09

Mayumi Nakagawa: Project PI

Title “Understanding and Enhancing T-Cell Responses to High Risk Human Papillomaviruses”

07/01/2010 to 11/30/2020


*annual cancer-related direct cost

Dr. Nakagawa’s UAMS Collaborators

UAMS College of Medicine

Department of Biomedical Informatics

David Ussery, Ph.D.

Intawat Nookaew, Ph.D.

Thidathip Wongsurawat, Ph.D.

Piroon Jenjaroenpun, Ph.D.

Michael Robeson, Ph.D.

Galina Glazko, Ph.D.

Yasir Rahmatallah, Ph.D.

Erich Peterson, Ph.D.

Donald Johann Jr., M.D.

Department of Biostatistics

Horace (Trey) Spencer III, M.S.

Milan Bimali, Ph.D.

Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics

Kristie Hadden, Ph.D.

Department of Internal Medicine

Omar Atiq, M.D.

Konstantinos Arnaoutakis, M.D.

Rangaswamy Govindarajan. M.D.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

William (Sam) Greenfield, M.D.

Kristin Zorn, M.D.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services

Charles (Matthew) Quick, M.D.


UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health

Gunnar Boysen, Ph.D.

Department of Epidemiology

Joseph Su, Ph.D., M.P.H.


Dr. Nakagawa’s External Collaborators

Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois

Biosciences Division

Sarah M. Owens, Ph.D.

King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Program

Pandacan Puengrang, Ph.D.

Kanazawa Medical University, Uchinada, Ishikawa, Japan

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Toshiyuki Sasagawa, M.D., Ph.D.

Second Genome, Inc., South San Francisco


Cheryl-Emiliane Chow, Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh

Department of Pediatrics

Barbara Fuhrman, Ph.D.

Opportunities for Collaboration

I am open to new collaborations, especially with junior faculty members.

You May Not Know That …

I enjoy horseback riding at Hearts & Hooves.

Recent Cancer-Related Publications

Stratton, S.L., Spencer, H.J, Greenfield, W.W., Low, G., Hitt, W.C., Quick, C.M., Jeffus, S.K., Blackmon, V, and Nakagawa, M. A Novel Use of a Statewide Telecolposcopy Network for Recruitment of Participants in a Phase I Clinical Trial of a Human Papillomavirus Therapeutic Vaccine. Clinical Trials, 12, 199-204, 2015. PMCID: PMC4424105

Nakagawa, M., Greenfield, W., Moerman-Herzog, A., and Coleman, H.N. Cross-Reactivity, Epitope Spreading, and De Novo Immune Stimulation Are Possible Mechanisms of Cross-Protection of Nonvaccine Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Types in Recipients of HPV Therapeutic Vaccines. Clinical and Vaccine Immuology, 22, 679-687, 2015. PMCID: PMC4478515

Greenfield, W.W., Stratton, S.L., Myrick, R.S., Vaughn R., Donnalley, L.M., Coleman, H.N., Mercado, M., Moerman-Herzog, A.M., Spencer, H.J., Andrews-Collins, N.R., Hitt, W.C., Low, G.M., Manning, N.A., McKelvey, S.S., Smith, D., Smith, M.V., Phillips, A.M., Quick, C.M., Jeffus, S.K., Hutchins, L.F., and Nakagawa, M. A Phase I Dose-Escalation Clinical Trial of a Peptide-Based Human Papillomavirus Therapeutic Vaccine with Candida Skin Test Reagent as a Novel Vaccine Adjuvant for Treating Women with Biopsy-Proven Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia 2/3, OncoImmunology, 4, e1031439:1-12, 2015. PMCID: PMC4590015

Moerman-Herzog, A., and Nakagawa, M. Early Defensive Mechanisms against Human Papillomavirus Infection. Clinical and Vaccine Immuology, 22, 850-857, 2015. PMCID: PMC4519724

Coleman, H.N., Greenfield, W.W., Stratton, S.L., Vaughn, R., Kieber, A., Moerman-Herzog, A.M., Spencer, H.J., Hitt, W.C., Quick, C.M., Hutchins, L.F., Mackintosh, S.G., Edmondson, R.D., Erickson, S.W., Nakagawa, M. HPV Type 16 Viral Load is Decreased Following a Therapeutic Vaccination. Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, 65, 563-573, 2016. PMCID: PMC4841729

Wang, X. Che, Y., Chen, C., Chen, B., Zhang, Y., Xu, X., Nakagawa, M., Wang X. “Evaluation of immune response induced by a novel human papillomavirus (HPV) therapeutic vaccine with HPV 16 E7 peptides and Candida skin test reagent as an adjuvant in C57BL/6 mice. International Immunopharmacology. 56, 249-260, 2018. PMCID: PMC5967262

Ou, Y., Cannon, M., Nakagawa. M. Regulatory T Cells in Gynecologic Cancer. MOJ Immunology, 6, 34-43, 2018. PMCID: PMC6329475

Abdallah, A.-O., Coleman, H., Kamel, M., Davis, R., Landrum, T., Spencer, H., Mackintosh, S., Mahmoud, F.A., Milojkovic, N., Wicker, C., Arnaoutakis, K., Nakagawa, M. A Novel Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy Using Prostate-Specific Antigen Peptides and Candida Skin Test Reagent as an Adjuvant. SAGE Open Medicine, 6, 1-11, 2018. PMCID: PMC6144584

Lieblong, B., Montgomery, B., Su, L. J., Nakagawa, M. Natural History of Human Papillomavirus and Vaccinations in Men: A Literature Review. Health Sciences Report, e118, 1-15, 2019. PMCID: PMC6529831

Wongsurawat, T., Nakagawa, M., Atiq, O., Coleman, H., Jenjaroenpun, P., Allred, J., Trammel, A., Puengrang, P., Ussery, D., Nookaew, I. An Assessment of Oxford Nanopore Sequencing for Human Gut Metagenome Profiling: A Pilot Study of Head and Neck Cancer Patients. J Microbiol Methods, In Press.

Shibata, T., Lieblong, B., Sasagawa, T., Nakagawa, M. The Promise of Combining Cancer Vaccine and Checkpoint Blockade for Treating HPV-Related Cancer. Cancer Treat Rev, 78, 8-16, 2019. PMCID: PMC6710123