Prof. Isa Marte Hussaini: Combatting Cancer the Natural Way


Professor Isa Marte Hussaini is a Nigerian scientist, pharmacist, medical researcher and professor of pharmacology, pathology, neuroscience, and oncology. He is widely known for his research efforts and findings on the use of medicinal plants in the treatment of cancer.

Prof. Hussaini’s achievements in cancer treatment are best appreciated when one considers their manifold significance and the massive relief they have brought to many cancer patients and their loved ones. Usually, contemporary methods of treating cancer, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and immunotherapy, have been known to be very expensive (especially to patients from low-income countries) and sometimes inefficient in the treatment and management of cancer.

Combating Cancer
Prof. Isa Marte Hussaini

Consequently, many researchers in recent times have begun to explore alternative therapies including the use of medicinal plants such as Nigella Sativa, Vernonia amydalina among-others, to serve as more effective and less expensive therapeutic agents. Unsurprisingly, these local herbs and their derivative phytocompounds are being increasingly recognised as useful complementary treatments for cancer.

As an erudite scholar and researcher, Prof. Hussaini has been at the forefront in the search and investigation of useful local medical plants for cancer treatment. In 2015, he presented  one of his latest research findings to the Nigerian Academy of Science at the induction ceremony of Fellows in Abuja where he stated that some Nigerian herbal plants are more efficacious than the current drugs used in cancer treatments. Similarly, on 12 February 2016, he presented a lecture, titled “Exploitation of medicinal plant compounds in the search for novel cancer therapeutic agents” in an event hosted by Professor Louise Serpell through the Sussex Nigerian Society, University of Sussex Genome Damage and Stability Centre, UK.

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For his outstanding contributions to cancer research in Nigeria, Prof. Hussaini was made a Fellow of Nigeria Academy of Science in 2013 and in November 2015, he was made a Fellow of Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy. He became a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria in 2016. He is also a founding member of the International Society of Neuro-Oncology (SNO).

The renowned scholar has, to his credit, 105 peer-reviewed journal publications and five book chapters which have been cited over 3,200 times by other researchers worldwide. Prof. Hussaini has spoken at over 20 international conferences and symposia and he has been invited as a guest lecturer in many universities throughout the world.

He is a reviewer for several International journals in the field of Neuro-Oncology, Cancer Research, Biological Chemistry, Neuroscience, Pharmacy and Pharmacology, among others. He has been a consultant and reviewer of grants for several international agencies, including; American Cancer Society (2008-2011), National Institutes of Health (2003-2010), the Qatar National Research Fund and the Israel and French Science Foundations.

Between 1997 and 2010, Prof. Hussaini was awarded four independent research grants totalling 5 million US dollars. He was also awarded 10 million Naira Institutional TETFund grant in 2011 and 34 million Naira in 2015 by General TY Danjuma foundation to establish a cancer research laboratory at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Background and education:

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Professor Marte was born in the city of Maiduguri, Borno State, North-Eastern Nigeria in November 10, 1956. He had his primary education at Yerwa Central Primary School, Maiduguri. Thereafter he proceeded to Yerwa Government Secondary School Maiduguri for his secondary education. His brilliance and leadership qualities distinguished him from his peers and he was appointed the Head Boy (Senior Prefect) of the school. He graduated in 1975, obtaining the West African School Certificate.

In 1976, he was admitted into Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to study Pharmacy and obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1979. He had his pharmacy internship, at the General Hospital, Maiduguri, from 1979 to 1980 before he proceeded to the General Hospital Kontogora, Niger State for his National Youth Service programme from 1980 to 1981. He served briefly as an assistant lecturer at the department of Pharmacology, University of Maiduguri from 1981 to 1982.

Prof. Hussaini obtained his master’s degree in Pharmacology from Chelsea College, University of London in 1983. He later received a doctorate degree (PhD) in Pharmacology from King’s College London in 1987. He had his post-doctoral research fellowship at the department of chemistry (1987-1989), and the department of Department of Pathology (1989-1990), both in the University of Virginia, USA. In 1997, he received his MBA from Averett University, a private non-profit college in Danville, Virginia, USA.


Academic career

Prof. Hussaini began his academic career in 1990 as a senior lecturer at the faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he served as the acting Head of Department of Pharmacology from 1990 to 1991. His unrelenting passion for research made him move into Nigeria’s foremost pharmaceutical research institution, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja, in 1992, where he served as a chief research fellow and the Head of Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology from 1992 to 1993.

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While at NIPRD, Prof. Hussaini was involved in many research exploits of the institution. As a result of his research dexterity and efforts which attracted international interest, he was appointed a research associate (Neuropathology), Department of Pathology, at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, USA, in 1993, where he served till 1994. He was later appointed as assistant professor in the same department between 1995 and 2000.

Prof. Hussaini later served as the associate professor of research in the same department from 2000 to 2002. From 2002 to 2010, Prof Hussaini served as an assistant professor and associate professor (reader) of Pathology and Neuroscience in the Department of Pathology and Neuroscience, University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Prof. Hussaini also served as a visiting professor in the department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, from 2004 to 2015. He was appointed as the acting dean of the faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria in 2009 and was made the substantive dean of the faculty in 2010, in which capacity he served until 2014. Prof Hussaini is happily married and blessed with six children.



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