Meet our Scientists
Andrea Wagenfeld: Clinical Research in Women’s Health
Dr. Andrea Wagenfeld wants to ease the pain and burden that trouble many women. She looks for biomarkers that reflect effective treatment of gynecological diseases.
It’s of grave importance to prove the efficacy of a medication in clinical studies as early as possible. But this task can be extremely difficult.
Pain, heavy menstrual bleeding and severe fertility problems may be the result of gynecological diseases that greatly impair a woman’s life. Underlying illnesses could be endometriosis, fibroids, or polycystic ovary syndrome. I’ve committed my research to fighting all of these.
One Symptom – Many Diseases
Between 50 and 60 percent of all women have fibroids. These are benign tumors in the uterus. In ten percent of the cases, fibroids cause debilitating symptoms such as severe bleedings and pain. Fibroids can also impair a woman’s fertility. The highest burden for patients with endometriosis is the severe (menstrual) pain often associated with subfertility. Unlike with fibroids, this pain often occurs very early in women’s reproductive life, even at the time a girl has her first menstruation. Because diagnosis is difficult, many cases aren’t diagnosed for up to 10 years. Many young women think this pain is normal. They don’t know what a normal menstruation feels like. So I’m glad that through my work, I can help ease the lives of many women. You can help people not only by treating life-threatening diseases; you can also do it by improving patients’ everyday quality of life. With so few treatment options available for these diseases, women deserve the best possible care!
Two Diseases – One Medicine
To treat both diseases, we are currently testing a steroidal selective progesterone receptor modulator in clinical Phase III studies. I was already involved in the development of this modulator before it entered clinical studies. I’m very proud to be part of the development, because most substances don’t make it that far. In previous clinical phases, we tested its safety and tolerability on healthy volunteers before we find a suitable therapy dosage for proving its effectiveness. Currently we’re treating affected women with it to show its effectiveness in significantly reducing or abolishing their clinical symptoms. It’s of utmost importance to prove the efficacy of a medication as early as possible in clinical studies. But this task can also be extremely difficult. I specialize in biomarkers, which refers to a measurable indicator of some biological condition and can be measured within human tissue, or in body fluids such as blood or urine. All different kinds of substances can work as biological markers, for example, proteins, genes, or hormones. With biomarkers, we can track an illness as it progresses and changes. We can also measure the success of a treatment.
Music, Art and Watersports
I spend my entire workday dealing with diseases and the pains they cause. I find it very satisfying to work on solutions which might help women who are suffering to find a way out of their misery. Outside of work, I need some positive activities. That’s why I enjoy Berlin’s cultural offerings. I love visual arts and music. I began subscribing to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra more than ten years ago, but I also enjoy getting distracted by mainstream radio music. Water is my element for trying to keep fit, and I swim, or go snorkeling and diving frequently during my vacation. In my free time, I also like exploring natural areas outside of Berlin. Normally I do so by bike; a few years ago, I even took tours with donkeys, gorgeous animals – and a good way to test your stress level and patience.
CV: Dr. Andrea Wagenfeld
1967 born in Delmenhorst, Germany
1993 Master’s Degree in Biology with a focus on Microbiology, Muenster University, Germany
1997 Doctoral thesis at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Muenster University
1997-2001 Post-Doctoral role with Rockefeller / Ernst Schering Foundation “Application of Molecular Pharmacology for Post-Testicular Activity” (Muenster, Charlottesville, Turku)
2002-2007 Lab leader, Male Health Care Research, Gynecology & Andrology, Schering AG, Berlin, Germany
2007-2010 Senior Scientist, Uterine Fibroid Research TRG Gynecological Therapies, Bayer Healthcare, Berlin
2010-2012 Extra-occupational studies at Charité Teaching Hospital, Master’s Degree Course in Consumer Health Care, Berlin
2010-2016 Principal Scientist, TRG Oncology & Gynecological Therapies, Bayer Pharma, Berlin
2016-current Director, Biomarker Strategy in Clinical Sciences and Experimental Medicine, Bayer AG, Berlin