University Health Center Bonn

University Health Center Bonn

Prof. Dr. med. Achim Hoerauf
Co-Coordinator TAKeOFF
University Health Center Bonn
Sigmund Freud Str. 25
House 63, Zone blue
53127 Bonn
Germany
Tel: +49 228 287-15673
Fax +49 228 287-19573
e-mail: achim.hoerauf@ukbonn.de

Prof. Hoerauf is Full Professor of Microbiology and Parasitology and Director of the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at Bonn University Medical Center. The Institute is the central Infectious Diseases lab of the medical health center, processing more than 120,000 samples per year.

After doing his MD in clinical immunology at the University of Erlangen from 1987 to 1989, he was a fellow of Medical Microbiology and Infection Epidemiology in Hamburg, where he received his habilitation in 1998. After heading the department of helminthology at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNI) in Hamburg, he was appointed in 2003 to full professorship (C4) at the University of Bonn and became director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology.

Since 2013, he is coordinator of the BMBF-funded German Center for Infection Research (DZIF; www,dzif.de) in Bonn-Cologne.

Since May 2017, he is chairman of the DNTDs Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases in Germany (www.dntds.de).

Professor Hoerauf is internationally renowned for his work in Tropical Medicine, specifically, for pioneering a new drug treatment for filariasis (a group of neglected tropical diseases). The new treatment exploits the symbiosis between the filarial nematodes and bacterial endosymbionts called Wolbachia, which are susceptible to antibiotics such as doxycycline. The proof of principle that anti-Wolbachial drugs can serve as safe macrofilaricides and thus, the feasibility of delivering a safe macrofilaricidal drug, has sparked the development of macrofilaricidal research programmes by the Gates Foundation and DNDi. Prof. Hoerauf’s group was the also first to characterize a TLR2 ligand from Wolbachia, and established that blindness brought about by filarial antigens as the worm larvae migrate into the eye in onchocerciasis (or “river blindness”) is dependent on Wolbachia, and again mediated by the innate immune system.

Pro-inflammatory responses are also instrumental for development of lymphedema (angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis is always a consequence of inflammation), and the group’s earlier studies on doxycycline and LF showed a strong beneficial effect in stopping or even reverting progression or LE. This has prompted confirmatory study series, which the TAKeOFF consortium is performing in conjunction with 3 other groups funded by USAID.

Prof. Hoerauf’s second focus is in the field of infection immunity, where his group was the first to detect regulatory T cells in humans in an infection.

He has been collaborating with key African scientists on filariasis for nearly 20 years, acting as PI on numerous clinical trials funded by the BMBF, EU, the Volkswagen Foundation, and several grants from the Gates Foundation.

Overview of research activities by the partner institution.

Prof. Dr. Hoerauf and his team are experts in filarial nematode infections (human infections and animal models), both basic and applied science. They are currently involved in preclinical as well as clinical drug development for filarial infections, initiated by governmental and non-governmental organizations (WHO, DNDi, BMGF, DFG) in addition to partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. Prof. Hoerauf is the head of the above-mentioned institute and his group has translated the discovery of endosymbionts in filarial worms into the first safe macrofilaricidal drug to be used for individual patient care, doxycycline. This was only possible through intensive collaboration with partners of this consortium, in particular Prof. Alex Debrah and Prof. Samuel Wanji.

The current consortium will benefit strongly from the clinical trial management expertise (Bonn Clinical Study Core Unit with Dr. Christoph Coch, www.studienzentrum-bonn.de), diagnostic skills and immunological techniques. The joint field experience of all other partners highlights the power of this consortium.

The Bonn team is also part of the subproject “From Biomarkers to Diagnostics” which aims at improving the current diagnostic applications in filarial infections as well as optimized treatment of the patients. The focus within TAKeOFF is the implementation of clinical trials with doxycycline for filarial lymphedema and podoconiosis.

In the first phase of the project they will prepare the establishment of F-CuRE (Filariasis Clinical Trial and Research Platform) with recruitment of personnel and preparing the official documents, jointly applying the international GCP standards for drug trial registration by the governmental authorities and country FDAs. This will also involve training in ICH, GCP and GLP as well as tutorials of implementation of clinical trials (Phase I/II and II) as well as patient recruitment, data management and Biobanking with F-CuRE.

The TAKeOFF project will be coordinated by Prof. Alexander Debrah (Kumasi, Ghana) and Prof. Dr. Achim Hoerauf (Bonn, Germany).The coordinators will manage the project and they will be responsible for the general project oversight and work across the groups, aligning internal team members, cooperation partners and external stakeholders. They will oversee the implementation of objectives and actions within the projects as well as the portfolio management including budget oversight.

 

List of most recent publications.

Prodjinotho UF, von Horn C, Debrah AY, Batsa Debrah L, Albers A, Layland LE, Hoerauf A, Adjobimey T. Pathological manifestations in lymphatic filariasis correlate with lack of inhibitory properties of IgG4 antibodies on IgE-activated granulocytes. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017 Jul 24;11(7)

Globisch D, Eubanks LM, Shirey RJ, Pfarr KM, Wanji S, Debrah AY, Hoerauf A, Janda KD. Validation of onchocerciasis biomarker N-acetyltyramine-O-glucuronide(NATOG). Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2017;27(15):3436-3440

Debrah LB, Nausch N, Opoku VS, Owusu W, Mubarik Y, Berko DA, Wanji S, Layland LE, Hoerauf A, Jacobsen M, Debrah AY, Phillips RO. Epidemiology of Mansonella perstans in the middle belt of Ghana. Parasit Vectors. 2017;10(1):15.

Klarmann-Schulz U, Specht S, Debrah AY, Batsa L, Ayisi-Boateng NK, Osei-Mensah J, Mubarik Y, Konadu P, Ricchiuto A, Fimmers R, Arriens S, Dubben B, Ford L, Taylor M, Hoerauf A. Comparison of Doxycycline, Minocycline, Doxycycline plus Albendazole and Albendazole Alone in Their Efficacy against Onchocerciasis in a Randomized, Open-Label, Pilot Trial. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017;11(1):e0005156.

Kroidl I, Saathoff E, Maganga L, Makunde WH, Hoerauf A, Geldmacher C, Clowes P, Maboko L, Hoelscher M. Effect of Wuchereria bancrofti infection on HIV incidence in southwest Tanzania: a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2016;388(10054):1912-1920.

Wanji S, Tayong DB, Layland LE, Datchoua Poutcheu FR, Ndongmo WP, Kengne-Ouafo JA, Ritter M, Amvongo-Adjia N, Fombad FF, Njeshi CN, Nkwescheu AS, Enyong PA, Hoerauf A. Update on the distribution of Mansonella perstans in the southern part of Cameroon: influence of ecological factors and mass drug administration with ivermectin. Parasit Vectors. 2016;9(1):311.

Kroidl I, Saathof E, Maganga L, Clowes P, Maboko L, Hoerauf A, Makunde WH, Haule A, Mviombo P, Pitter B, Mgeni N, Mabuye J, Kowuor D, Mwingira U, Malecela MN, Löscher T, Hoelscher M. Prevalence of Lymphatic Filariasis and Treatment Effectiveness of Albendazole/ Ivermectin in Individuals with HIV Co-infection in Southwest-Tanzania. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016;10(4):e0004618.

Weitzel T, Rosas R, Fica A, Dabanch J, Polanco M, Egana A, Triantafilo V, Pfarr K, Hoerauf A, Reiter-Owona I. Is there a risk of filarial infection during long-term missions in Haiti? Travel Med Infect Dis. 2016;14(2):137-42.

Debrah AY, Specht S, Klarmann-Schulz U, Batsa L, Mand S, Marfo-Debrekyei Y, Fimmers R, Dubben B, Kwarteng A, Osei-Atweneboana M, Boakye D, Ricchiuto A, Büttner M, Adjei O, Mackenzie CD, Hoerauf A. Doxycycline Leads to Sterility and Enhanced Killing of Female Onchocerca volvulus Worms in an Area With Persistent Microfilaridermia After Repeated Ivermectin Treatment: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2015;61(4):517-26.

Stanton MC, Mkwanda SZ, Debrah AY, Batsa L, Biritwum NK, Hoerauf A, Cliffe M, Best A, Molineux A, Kelly-Hope LA. Developing a community-led SMS reporting tool for the rapid assessment of lymphatic filariasis morbidity burden: case studies from Malawi and Ghana. BMC Infect Dis. 2015;15:214

Katawa G, Layland LE, Debrah AY, von Horn C, Batsa L, Kwarteng A, Arriens S, Taylor D, Specht S, Hoerauf A, Adjobimey T. Hyperreactive Onchocerciasis is Characterized by a Combination of Th17-Th2 Immune Responses and Reduced Regulatory T Cells. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015;9(1):e3414.

Quintana JF, Makepeace BL, Babayan SA, Ivens A, Pfarr KM, Blaxter M, Debrah A, Wanji S, Ngangyung HF, Bah GS, Tanya VN, Taylor DW, Hoerauf A, Buck AH.Extracellular Onchocerca-derived small RNAs in host nodules and blood. Parasit Vectors. 2015;8:58

Walker M, Specht S, Churcher TS, Hoerauf A, Taylor MJ, Basánez MG. Therapeutic efficacy and macrofilaricidal activity of doxycycline for the treatment of river blindness. Clin Infect Dis. 2015;60(8):1199-207.

Conferences in 2016-2017 organised or actively supported by TAKeOFF

ASTMH Nov 2016 Atlanta, USA: TAKeOFF satellite Meeting
BMBF Kick Off Meeting Feb 2016 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: TAKeOFF consortium meeting and TAKeOFF administration meeting
TAKeOFF project Meeting Mai 2017 Kumasi, Ghana.
TAKeOFF Session COR-NTD Meeting Nov 2017 Baltimore, USA.
TAKeOFF Project Meeting ASTMH Nov 2017, Baltimore, USA.
TAKeOFF Coordinators Meeting Dec 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

List of staff/students on the TAKeOFF project indicating respective academic qualifications.

  • Dr. Achim Hoerauf (MD, Director, TAKeOFF Co-Coordinator) achim.hoerauf@ukbonn.de
  • Ute Klarmann-Schulz (MD, TAKeOFF PI Bonn) ute.klarmann-schulz@ukbonn.de
  • Janina Kuepper (PhD, TAKeOFF Clinical Trial Management) janina.kuepper@ukbonn.de
  • Christoph Coch (MD, Head of Clinical Trial Center Bonn) christoph.coch@ukbonn.de
  • Rolf Fimmers (PhD, Data management and statistics) rolf.fimmers@ukbonn.de
  • Kenneth Pfarr (PhD, TAKeOFF Workpackage Biomarkers) kenneth.pfarr@ukbonn.de
  • Anna Albers (PhD, TAKeOFF Projectmanagement, Administration) anna.albers@ukbonn.de
  • Angelika Kellings (TAKeOFF Qualtity Assurance manager) angelika.kellings@ukbonn.de
  • Barbara Gruetzmacher (PhD candidate, TAKeOFF data management and statistics) barbara.gruetzmacher@ukbonn.de
  • Tanita Olbrich (PhD candidate, TAKeOFF Workpackage Biomarkers)
  • Arcangelo Ricchiuto (TAKeOFF Datamanager) arcangelo.ricchiuto@ukbonn.de
  • Tilman Aden (Technical Assistance, TAKeOFF Workpackage Biomarker)