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Heiner Wedemeyer


Heiner Wedemeyer, MD, is managing senior physician and assistant professor in the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology at Hannover Medical School (Director Prof. Dr. M.P. Manns).  He coordinates the hepatitis diagnostic laboratory of Hannover Medical School and, together with PD Dr. Markus Cornberg, he is leading a research group on cellular immunology in viral hepatitis.

Heiner Wedemeyer studied Musicology and Medicine and graduated in Medicine at the University of Göttingen in 1996. He started training in Internal Medicine at Hannover Medical School, Germany. From 1998-2000 he spent 2 1/2 years as a research fellow in immunology in the Liver Diseases Section at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, in the group of Barbara Rehermann. In 2001 he returned to Hannover and completed his specialist training in Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Heiner Wedemeyer is Fellow of the European Board of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Since 2002 Heiner Wedemeyer is involved in the scientific coordination of the German Network of Competence on Viral Hepatitis (Hep-Net) and the German Liver Foundation (since 2006). In 2008 he was elected as member of the Scientific Comittee of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) and was leading EASL as the Secretary General from 2009-2011. Heiner Wedemeyer had various coordinating responsibilities in the establishment of several national and international guidelines on the management of hepatitis B and C and hepatocellular carcinoma.  

Heiner Wedemeyer has worked on basic and clinical aspects of hepatitis virus infections since 1996. His main interest is the immunopathogenesis of HBV, HCV, HDV and HEV infection and the development of novel immunomodulatory therapies such as therapeutic vaccines in hepatitis C. Heiner Wedemeyer has been principal investigator in several phase I-IV clinical trials on antivirals and immunotherapies in viral hepatitis.

Prof. Wedemeyer has published more that 140 original articles, 90 reviews and editorials and 50 book chapters. He is editor of 4 books. The current Hirsch-Index of Heiner Wedemeyer is 37 und his publications have been cited more than 7000 times. He has been awarded with the Hans Popper Award of the International Association for the Study of the Liver (2002), the “Präventionspreis der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin” (2008), the Innovation Award of the German Medical Faculties (2011) and the Rudolph-Schoen-Award (2011). The research of Heiner Wedemeyer has been funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF), the European Union, the European Association for the study of the Liver, the Network of Competence on Viral Hepatitis (Hep-Net), the Robert-Koch-Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.


Selected recent publications:


Clinical Studies:

•    Wedemeyer H, Yurdaydın C., Dalekos GN. Erhardt A, ÇakaloğluY, Değertekin H, Gürel S, Zeuzem S, Zachou K, Bozkaya H, Koch A, Bock T, Dienes HP, Manns MP, The Hep-Net/International Delta Hepatitis Study Group. Peginterferon plus Adefovir versus Either Drug Alone for Hepatitis Delta. N Engl J Med. 2011; 364:322-31.
→ world-wide largest treatment trial for hepatitis delta, the most severe form of chronic viral hepatitis, establishing the current standard of care of HDV infection


•    Pischke S, Gösling J, Engelmann I, Schlue J, Wölk B, Jäckel E, Meyer-Heithuis C, Lehmann U, Strassburg CP, Barg-Hock H, Becker T, Manns MP, Schulz T, Wedemeyer H, Heim A. High intrahepatic HHV-6 virus loads but neither CMV nor EBV are associated with decreased graft survival after diagnosis of graft hepatitis. J Hepatol. 2012 Jan 13. [Epub ahead of print]


•    Manns M, Zeuzem S, Sood A, Lurie Y, Cornberg M, Klinker H, Buggisch P, Rössle M, Hinrichsen H, Merican I, Ilan Y, Mauss S, Abu-Mouch S, Horban A, Müller TH, Welsch C, Chen R, Faruqi R, Pedicone LD, Wedemeyer H. Reduced Dose and Duration of Peginterferon alfa-2b and Weight-Based Ribavirin in Patients With Genotype 2 and 3 Chronic Hepatitis C. 2011, epub ahead of print.
→ investigator initiated pilot trial to investigate PEG-IFN treatment in HCV genotype 2/3 patients


•    Mederacke I, Filmann N, Yurdaydin C, Bremer B, Puls F, Zacher BJ, Heidrich B, Tillmann HL, Rosenau J, Bock CT, Servas B, Helfritz F, Lehner F, Strassburg CP, Klempnauer J, Wursthorn K, Lehmann U, Manns MP, Herrmann E, Wedemeyer H. Rapid early HDV RNA decline in the peripheral blood but prolonged intrahepatic hepatitis Delta antigen persistence after liver transplantation. J Hepatol. 2011 Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print]
→ first study investigating HDV RNA and quantitative HBsAg after liver transplantation for hepatitis delta. Identification of intrahepatic HDV latency has major implications for the management of HBIg administration in these patients.


•    Trépo E, Potthoff A., Pradat P, Bakshi R, Young B, Lagier R, Moreno C, Verset L, Cross R, Degré D, Lemmers A, Gustot T, Berthillon P, Rosenberg W, Trépo C, Sninsky J, Adler M, Wedemeyer H. Role of a cirrhosis risk score for the early prediction of fibrosis progression 1 in hepatitis C patients with minimal liver disease. J Hepatol 2011;55:38-44.
→ shows that genetic factors are associated with fibrosis progression in hepatitis C


•    Pischke S, Suneetha PV, Baechlein C, Barg-Hock H, Heim A, Kamar N, Schlue J, Strassburg CP, Lehner F, Raupach R, Magerstedt P, Cornberg M, Seehusen F Baumgaertner W, Klempnauer J,  Izopet J, Manns MP, Grummer B, Wedemeyer H. Hepatitis E virus infection as a cause of graft hepatitis in liver transplant recipients. Liver Transplantation 2010; 16:74-82.
→ first systematic screening of liver transplanted patients for HEV infection, first identification of chronic hepatitis E in German patients


•    Wedemeyer, H., E. Schuller, V. Schlaphoff, R. E. Stauber, J. Wiegand, I. Schiefke, C. Firbas, B. Jilma, M. Thursz, S. Zeuzem, W. P. Hofmann, H. Hinrichsen, E. Tauber, M. P. Manns, C. S. Klade. 2009. Therapeutic vaccine IC41 as late add-on to standard treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Vaccine. 27:5142-51.
→ Therapeutic peptide vaccination in combination with IFNa+Ribavirin


•    Klade, C. S.*, H. Wedemeyer*, T. Berg, H. Hinrichsen, G. Cholewinska, S. Zeuzem, H. Blum, M. Buschle, S. Jelovcan,  V. Buerger, E. Tauber, J. Frisch, M. P. Manns. 2008. Therapeutic vaccination of chronic hepatitis C non-responder patients with the peptide vaccine IC41. Gastroenterology. 134(5):1385-95. * equal contribution.
→ first therapeutic peptide vaccine trial against chronic hepatitis C

Immunological Studies:

•    Stegmann KA, Bjorkstrom N, Ciesek, S, Lunemann S, Jaroszewicz J, Wiegand W, Malinski P, Dustin LB, Rice CM, Manns MP, Pietschmann T, Cornberg M, Ljunggren HG, Wedemeyer H. Interferon a–stimulated natural killer cells from patients with acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection recognize HCV-infected and uninfected hepatoma cells via DNAX accessory molecule-1. Journal of Infectious Diseases 2012, published online March 28 2012
→ Identification of DNAM-1 as a key molecule required for recognition of hepatoma cells by IFN-alpha stimulated NK cells


•    Schlaphoff V, Lunemann S, Suneetha PV, Jaroszewicz J, Grabowski J, Dietz J, Helfritz F, Bektas H, Sarrazin C, Manns MP, Cornberg M, Wedemeyer H. Dual function of the NK cell receptor 2B4 (CD244) in the regulation of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells. PLoS Pathog. 2011;7:e1002045
→ establishing a new concept of regulation of CD8+T cell function by hierarchies of co-stimulatory receptors


•    Suneetha PV, Pischke S, Schlaphoff V, Grabowski J, Fytili P, Gronert AA, Bremer B, Markova A, Jaroszewicz J, Bara C, Manns MP, Cornberg M, Wedemeyer H. Hepatitis E Virus-specific T cells are associated with control of HEV infection. Hepatology 2012; 55: 695-708.
→ first study on HEV-specific T cells in patients with persistent hepatitis E virus infection


•    Stegmann, K. A., N. K. Björkström, H. Veber, S. Ciesek, P. Riese, J. Wiegand, J. Hadem, P. V. Suneetha, J. Jaroszewicz, C. Wang, V. Schlaphoff, P. Fytili, M. Cornberg, M. P. Manns, R. Geffers, T. Pietschmann, C. A. Guzmán, H. G. Ljunggren, H. Wedemeyer. 2010. Interferon--induced TRAIL on natural killer cells is associated with control of hepatitis C virus infection. Gastroenterology. 138:1885-1897.
→ identification of a novel mode of action how IFNa contributes to the control of HCV infection


•    Wedemeyer H, He XS, Nascimbeni M, Davis AR, Greenberg HB, Hoofnagle JH, Liang TJ, Alter H, Rehermann B. Impaired effector function of hepatitis C virus-specific CD8+ T cells in chronic hepatitis C virus infection. J Immunol 2002; 169: 3447-58.
→ functional characterization of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells, >400 citations until 3-2012


•    Wedemeyer H, Mizukoshi E, Davis AR, Bennink JR, Rehermann B. Cross-reactivity between hepatitis C virus and Influenza A virus determinant-specific cytotoxic T cells. J Virol 2001; 75: 11392-400.
→ first study demonstrating T cell cross-reactivity between HCV and influenza A

Clinical Virology:

•    Wursthorn K, Jaroszewicz J, Zacher BJ, Darnedde M, Raupach R, Mederacke I, Cornberg M, Manns MP, Wedemeyer H. HBsAg Correlation between the Elecsys HBsAg II assay and the Architect assay for the quantification of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in the serum. J Clin Virol 2011;50:292-6.
→ first study comparing different assays to quantitative HBsAg levels


•    Wursthorn K, Jung M, Riva A, Goodman ZD, Lopez P, Bao W, Manns MP, Wedemeyer H*, Naoumov NV. Kinetics of Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Decline During 3 Years of Telbivudine Treatment in Patients With HBeAg-positive Chronic Hepatitis B. Hepatology 2010;52:1611-20*corresponding author.
→ first trial investigating quantitative HBsAg levels during long-term treatment of hepatitis B with a nucleoside analogue


•    Jaroszewicz J, Calle B, Wursthorn K, Deterding K, Schlue J, Raupach R, Bock CT, Flisiak R, Manns MP, Wedemeyer H, Cornberg M. Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg) Levels in the Natural History of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)-Infection: A European Perspective. J Hepatology, 2010; 52:514-522.
→ first systematic study investigating HBsAg levels in different phases of HBV infection. As been cited more than 60 times in less than 2 years after publikcation


•    Mederacke I, Bremer B, Heidrich B, Kirschner J, Deterding K, Bock T, Wursthorn K, Manns MP, Wedemeyer H. Establishment of a novel quantitative HDV RNA assay using the COBAS TaqMan platform to study HDV RNA kinetics. J Clin Microbiol. 2010; 48: 2022-2029.
→ establishing of a novel HDV RNA test on an automated platform