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What is artesunate?

Artesunate is a semi-synthetic derivative of artemisinin, made by the plant sweet wormwood (Artemsia annua). This Chinese herbal medicine has been used for centuries to treat malaria and now is WHO-approved as a first-line treatment for acute malaria. The 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Professor Youyou Tu for her contributions to the discovery of artemisinin.

Is artesunate safe?

Its safety profile has been well-documented in treating millions of individuals with acute malaria ranging from infants to adults.

Why would artesunate be used to treat both malaria and HPV-induced cancers?

Artesunate works by targeting cells with an abnormal amount of iron, a characteristic of both malarial parasitic infections and the tumors caused by the human papillomavirus.

How is artesuante administered?

Artesunate can be administered as a vaginal insert, similar to the treatment for a yeast infection, anal suppository, or topical ointment.

What is HPV?

HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most common sexually-transmitted infection in the United States. In most cases it regresses on its own and does not cause any health problems. However, in certain cases it may cause cancer.

What are HPV-induced cancers?

Cancers that result from persistent infection with high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) include cervical cancer, anal cancer, vulvar cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, and penile cancer. Whereas virtually all cervical cancers are caused by a persistent infection with high-risk HPV types, these types cause about 90% of anal cancers, 60% of penile cancers and 70% of vulvar cancers.

What is dysplasia?

Dysplasia is a broad term that refers to the abnormal development of cells within tissues or organs. It can lead to a wide range of conditions that involve enlarged tissue or pre-cancerous cells.

What is neoplasia?

Neoplasia is the formation or presence of a new, abnormal growth of tissue.

What is high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)?

CIN refers to abnormal changes in the cells on the surface of cervix caused by HPV infection. CIN is graded as 1 (low-grade), 2 (moderate) and 3 (high-grade). There are approximately 500,000 women treated with either surgical excision or ablation for CIN2/3 each year in the United States. Worldwide 300,000 women annually die from cervical cancer.

Is CIN2/3 cancer?

CIN 2/3 is not cancer, it is a pre-malignant condition. However, these lesions may progress to cancer and spread if not treated. Worldwide 300,000 women annually die from cervical cancer.

What is the current treatment for CIN2/3?

Currently, the recommended treatment for women diagnosed with CIN2/3 is surgical excision or ablation of the abnormal cells to prevent progression to cervical cancer.

Can artesunate vaginal inserts eliminate both CIN 2/3 lesions as well as the virus?

A recent study (see PUBLICATIONS) found the following:

  • Artesunate vaginal inserts are safe and tolerable in patients who have CIN2/3.
  • Self-administered artesunate vaginal inserts eliminate both CI 2/3 lesions as well as HPV.
  • Artesunate vaginal inserts are self-administered and may be stored at room temperature. These inserts are similar to commonly used yeast infection inserts.
What is high-grade anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN2/3)?

AIN2/3 is a premalignant lesion of the anal mucosa that is a precursor to anal cancer. Although not all AIN2/3 lesions progress to cancer, the current treatment recommendations are generally surgical. Recurrences of AIN2/3 are common. In HIV-seronegative persons treated with ablation, recurrence is as high as 50% within one year of ablation. In HIV-positive individuals, recurrence rates are as high as 68%. Although anal cancer is relatively rare, it is steadily on the rise in the United States. Among high-risk populations, such as HIV-positive individuals, its incidence may exceed colon cancer.

What is the current treatment for AIN2/3

Current management of pre-cancerous lesions (anal intraepithelial neoplasia, AIN 2/3) consists of surgical excision or ablation. The morbidity of these procedures is significant and includes pain, anal stenosis and fecal incontinence.

How is artesuante applied in cases of AIN2/3?

Intra-anal AIN2/3 lesions are treated with artesunate suppositories. Perianal lesions are treated with artesunate ointment.

What is high-grade vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN2/3)?

High-grade vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN2, VIN3) is an abnormal change in the skin of the vulva primarily caused by an HPV infection. While it is rare, its incidence is increasing and now is four times more prevalent than in the 1970’s.

What is the current treatment for VIN2/3?

The treatment plan may include surgical resection, laser surgery and/or medication(s) applied to the vulva area. If the VIN lesion is extensive, a partial vulvectomy may be recommended, meaning the superficial removal of the skin without removing the fatty tissues beneath the skin. Plastic surgery procedures may be required to close the resulting wound.

How is artesunate applied in cases of VIN2/3?

VIN2/3 lesions are treated with topical artesunate ointment.