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The research presented in this interview pursues the goal of developing a therapeutic vaccine against cancer induced by human papillomavirus (HPV). As ANGELIKA RIEMER explains, the project identified T helper epitopes to enhance existing vaccines and led to the identification of five valuable candidates for inclusion into a therapeutic HPV vaccine. This was accomplished via a computer-based analysis of already existing knowledge on epitopes (structures recognized by the body’s immune system to eliminate pathogens or infected cells), followed by in-vitro tests of the epitopes in blood of healthy and sick donors.


Angelika Riemer is the Head of the research group “Molecular Vaccine Design” at the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) and of the junior research group “Immunotherapy and -prevention” at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), both in Heidelberg, Germany. After finishing her habilitation with the highest academic honors at the University of Vienna (Austria), she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Cancer Vaccine Center at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA.
Her major research interests include epitope-specific cancer vaccines and HPV-mediated cancers. She has received multiple prizes for her work, including the Ingrid zu Solms Science Award for Medicine, and was elected into the Young Academy of Sciences of Germany.


German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany. At DKFZ, more than 1,000 scientists investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and endeavor to find new strategies to prevent people from getting cancer. They develop novel approaches to make tumor diagnosis more precise and treatment of cancer patients more successful. The staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. Jointly with Heidelberg University Hospital, DKFZ has established the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, where promising approaches from cancer research are translated into the clinic. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of six German Centers for Health Research, DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partnering sites. Combining excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at a Helmholtz Center is an important contribution to improving the chances of cancer patients. DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers, with ninety percent of its funding coming from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the remaining ten percent from the State of Baden-Württemberg. (Source: Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum)  
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Original publication

Identification of Promiscuous HPV16-Derived T Helper Cell Epitopes for Therapeutic HPV Vaccine Design

Grabowska Agnieszka K., Kaufmann Andreas M. and Riemer Angelika B.
International Journal of Cancer
Published in 2015

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