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Angelika Riemer sets up research group in Heidelberg

(Vienna, 19 July 2010) From July 2010 Priv. Doz. DDr. Angelika Riemer will be working as group leader at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg. At the invitation of Nobel Prize winner Harald zur Hausen she will be taking over the leadership of a group to study a vaccine which will help patients overcome HPV cancer.

HPV (human papillomaviruses) are a group of viruses which, as well as harmless warts, can also cause different types of cancer, in particular the dreaded cervical cancer. While preventive vaccinations against HPV infection are now in use worldwide, there is still no vaccine which helps if the disease is already present.
To find such an agent is now the goal of a new research group at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.  Responsibility for setting up and heading this was given to Angelika Riemer, Department of Dermatology at MedUni Vienna. Here the team works closely together with the founder of this field of research, Professor Harald zur Hausen, who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 2008 for discovering that HPV causes cervical cancer.

The vaccine which is going to be researched now aims to activate the immune system of the affected patients so that the virus can be eliminated. In particular it is a matter of precisely identifying target structures (epitopes) on the HPV-infected/-transformed cell to then be able to formulate a specific therapeutic vaccine. Such a vaccine could help with persistent early stages of cancer which have been discovered during a medical check-up, or could be used to provide support after an operation.
"I hope that we will produce the first results as soon as possible and can then use these in the clinical area. First of all, however, the possible ingredients of the vaccine need to be defined precisely. I would also like to thank MedUni Vienna and everyone here who has supported and encouraged me – and therefore made this success possible," stresses Angelika Riemer.


Short biography:
Priv. Doz. DDr. Angelika Riemer, born in 1976, completed her medical studies between 1995 and 2001 at the University of Vienna. Back in 1999 she already completed a Bachelor of Science course in Australia, achieving the highest grade, before moving to the University of Bristol, Great Britain, for a semester in 2000 as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. Shortly afterwards came her dissertation at the Institute of Pathophysiology and in 2002 she became a Doctor of Medicine sub auspiciis praesidentis rei publicae.
Subsequently Riemer completed a doctoral course in molecular biology and became a Doctor of Natural Sciences (also sub auspiciis praesidentis). In 2007 she qualified as a Professor of Immunology, and recently completed specialist medical training in immunology. She is currently training to be a specialist in dermatology. She spent 2008 and 2009 at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute / Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA as part of a research stay. As well as her various stays abroad Riemer has also worked since 2001 as a tutor and lecturer in immunology at MedUni Vienna.

Alongside many scholarships Angelika Riemer has already received awards including - several times - the Promotional Award of the City of Vienna for innovative interdisciplinary cancer research, and she has also been given the Honorary and Promotional Award of the Medical Chamber, the Merit Award of the Federal Minister of Education, Science and Culture (twice), the International Prize for Research and Science of the Cultural Fund of the State Capital of Salzburg, the Wolfgang Denk Award of the Austrian Society of Haematology and Oncology, the Univ.-Prof. DDr. Karl Fellinger Prize of Austrian Cancer Aid, the Prize of the Sanofi-Aventis Foundation, Scholar Awards of the American Association of Cancer Research and the Merit Award of the American Association of Clinical Oncology, and several other accolades. In January 2006 she was Researcher of the Month at MedUni Vienna.


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