Human papillomaviruses (HPV) may cause pre-cancer or cancer in humans, particularly in the genital region or at the anus. More than one million of patients worldwide develop pre-cancer caused by HPV every year. Generally, those lesions are treated with surgery or laser therapy, which may cause considerable side effects in the affected patients. A targeted therapy that may spare normal tissue from damage is currently missing.

We have identified a molecular mechanism by which HPV alters the cells to become malignant and identified a class of drugs that may revert this situation. We are developing a novel treatment strategy with those substances that may be applied to the pre-cancer locally by the patients themselves. Thereby, we intend providing a causally effective therapy against HPV pre-cancer that, at the same time, may reduce treatment side effects in patients.

The aim of ViMREX

The aim of the ViMREX project is to develop a marketable local therapy against HPV-induced precancerous lesions in the anogenital tract using demethylating agents. The study comprises the:

a) conduction of comprehensive laboratory analyses, e.g.:

  • establishment of a local formulation prototype

  • determination of treatment effects such as cell death and cellular senescence and transcriptome analyses

  • development of innovative 3D cultures of HPV-transformed cells such as organotypic co-cultures from HPV-transformed cell lines and normal keratinocytes, long-term cultivation of patient-derived biopsies on dermal equivalents and tumor spheroids to provide a quasi-realistic model for treatment in the preclinical setting

  • optimization of treatment schedule (concentration, frequency, duration etc.)

  • combination studies

b) planning and conduction of regulatorily required preclinical analyses, e.g.:

  • extensive stability analyses

  • preclinical toxicity testing on animals

c) planning and conduction of a clinical phase I study followed by a clinical phase IIa study on patients with precancerous HPV-induced vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia.


Your contact person

Dr. Elena-Sophie Prigge
Dr. Elena-Sophie PriggeYour Content Goes Here
Elena (29) is a Medical researcher at the University of Heidelberg, part of a team investigating Non-surgical methods of tackling lesions caused by the Human papilloma virus (HPV), which is strongly linked to the development of cervical cancer. In particular, she is working on an antibody biomarker for the infection, to help create an early diagnostics system against the cancer.

“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence.”

Dr. Elena-Sophie Prigge, LEAD RESEARCHER


Das Projekt “ViMREX” wurde im Rahmen des EXIST-Programms durch das Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie und den Europäischen Sozialfonds vom 01.04.2015 bis 31.07.2018 gefördert.

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