College of Pharmacy Professor Awarded Sub-contract to Develop Nanoparticle Ovarian Cancer Vaccine


ATLANTA – Dr. Martin D'Souza, professor of pharmaceutical sciences in Mercer University's College of Pharmacy, has been awarded a sub-contract in the amount of $56,536 as part of a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The two-year contract – through Kiromic Labs of Lubbock, Texas, which received a total award of $222,847 – will support a project that focuses on development and testing of novel nanoparticle-based ovarian cancer vaccines.

In the U.S., ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer among women, and accounts for five percent of all cancer deaths in American women. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and nearly 15,000 deaths are attributed to the disease annually.

Development of a vaccine that prevents the growth of ovarian cancer could have tremendous impact toward reducing new diagnoses and deaths. In this project, immune cells of the body will be trained by different vaccine formulations to recognize and destroy cancer cells before they have the chance to grow. Formulations that provide the most significant effects in cells and animals will be further tested for use in humans.

“The development of a vaccine for ovarian cancer would represent a novel breakthrough in the treatment of this deadly disease. I applaud Dr. D'Souza in conducting this very important research,” said Dr. H.W. “Ted” Matthews, dean of the College of Pharmacy and senior vice president of health sciences at Mercer.

About the College of Pharmacy

Mercer University's College of Pharmacy is ranked No. 4 among pharmacy programs at private institutions in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.). Founded in 1903 as the independent Southern School of Pharmacy, the school merged with Mercer University in 1959 and in 1981 became the first school in the Southeast to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as its sole professional degree. In 1988, the College launched its graduate program, offering the Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences. The College is one of four health sciences units within the Mercer Health Sciences Center. With an enrollment today of more than 650 students and a distinguished faculty of basic scientists and clinicians, the College of Pharmacy houses seven centers focusing on research, teaching and learning. The College's motto, “A Tradition of Excellence – A Legacy of Caring,” frames its philosophy of providing excellent academic programs in an environment where every student matters and every person counts. For more information about the College, call (678) 547-6244 or visit