Wednesday, July 8, 2015


WASHINGTON (July 8, 2015) – Emmanuel O. Akala, Ph.D., director of the Center for Drug Research and Development, has been awarded a prestigious NIH/National Cancer Institute grant of $1,132,500 for three years to support innovative breast cancer research. 

Dr. Akala also is professor of pharmaceutics in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy. The project title is “Novel Nanotechnology Platform for Breast Cancer Treatment.”  

The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) over expression has been reported in 20%–25% of all breast cancers and is associated with a poor prognosis. The grant will assist Dr. Akala to develop multifunctional polymeric nanoparticles to test the hypothesis that tri-modal combination nanoparticles will prove more effective with less toxicity than current standard of care therapies for HER2-positive breast cancers. This nanotechnology platform for breast cancer treatment will, when completed, bring to bear the combined power of a chemotherapeutic agent, molecular targeted therapy and HSP90 inhibitor, to overcome HER2 breast cancer resistance with minimal toxicity. 

A second grant is a collaboration between Dr. Akala and Dr. Oleg Bol'shakov of South Ural State University in Russia. The one-year, $110,000 grant will be funded by CRDF Global, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration between international researchers.  Dr. Bol’shakov is a former post-doctoral fellow who trained under Dr. Akala’s supervision.  

Dr. Akala received his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1980 from the University of Ife in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Manchester, England. He also served as a DAAD Research Fellow with the German Academic Exchange Program in1993, which gave him the opportunity to conduct research in Germany.He is a registered pharmacist in Nigeria, Utah, Maryland and Washington, D.C.  Dr. Akala has made significant contributions to the College of Pharmacy and was honored as the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year” by the Howard University School of Pharmacy Alumni Association. 

About Howard University:

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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Shamilla Amulega
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