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The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health has awarded an R34 clinical trial planning grant to Chemtai Mungo, MD, MPH toDr. Meredith Newton portrait support her research that evaluates ways to improve HPV and cervical precancer treatment outcomes among women living with HIV in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Dr. Mungo’s grant-funded research will look at the feasibility of repurposing Artesunate, a medication used to treat malaria, as a self-administered therapy to improve HPV and cervical precancer treatment outcomes among HIV positive women in Africa. “Women in low and middle-income countries account for 85% of global cervical cancer cases and 90% of deaths, despite being a preventable disease,” said Dr. Mungo. “A primary barrier to prevention is the lack of access to precancer treatment after screening. Current therapies are provider-administered, yet most women live far from hospitals and specialists.”

Dr. Mungo is hopeful that her research will have a lasting impact on HIV positive women in LMICs by providing a self-administered treatment for women who are unable to travel to hospitals. “Our work seeks to demonstrate whether women with cervical precancer in these settings can safely and effectively use a self-administered treatment in the comfort of their homes,” said Dr. Mungo. “If successful, this approach can be lifesaving to millions of women in LMICs who are not vaccinated against HPV and face high rates of cervical cancer.”

Dr. Mungo’s research group aims to improve access to HPV and cervical precancer treatment for women in low and middle-income countries.

Frantz Viral Therapeutics has developed and provided the artesunate vaginal inserts for the clinical trial and has collaborated in the development of the research protocol, and regulatory approval processes.

Dr. Mungo was born and raised in Kenya. While in medical school, Dr. Mungo was selected as the Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellow and spent a year in Western Kenya working on cervical cancer prevention.

Dr. Mungo is an assistant professor and clinical researcher in UNC Health’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She received a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of California, Berkeley and completed medical school at the University of California San Francisco with Distinction in Clinical and Translational Research. She also completed a master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in San Francisco. In 2022, Dr. Mungo was awarded a Global Fund for Women’s Cancers Career Development Award in Partnership with Pelotonia and the American Association of Cancer Research.