Abstract: Influenza is a major respiratory pathogen causing annual outbreaks and occasional pandemics. Influenza vaccination is the major method of prophylaxis. Currently annual influenza vaccination is recommended for groups at high risk of complications from influenza infection such as pregnant women, young children, people with underlying disease and the elderly, along with occupational groups such a healthcare workers and farm workers. There are two main types of vaccines available: the parenteral inactivated influenza vaccine and the intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine. The inactivated vaccines are licensed from 6 months of age and have been used for more than 50 years with a good safety profile. Inactivated vaccines are standardized according to the presence of the viral major surface glycoprotein hemagglutinin and protection is mediated by the induction of vaccine strain specific antibody responses. In contrast, the live attenuated vaccines are licensed in Europe for children from 2–17 years of age and provide a multifaceted immune response with local and systemic antibody and T cell responses but with no clear correlate of protection. Here we discuss the immunological immune responses elicited by the two vaccines and discuss future work to better define correlates of protection.
Abstract: With its vast amount of uncharacterized and characterized T cell epitopes available for activating CD4+ T helper and CD8+ cytotoxic lymphocytes simultaneously, whole tumor antigen represents an attractive alternative source of antigens as compared to tumor-derived peptides and full-length recombinant tumor proteins for dendritic cell (DC)-based immunotherapy. Unlike defined tumor-derived peptides and proteins, whole tumor lysate therapy is applicable to all patients regardless of their HLA type. DCs are essentially the master regulators of immune response, and are the most potent antigen-presenting cell population for priming and activating naïve T cells to target tumors. Because of these unique properties, numerous DC-based immunotherapies have been initiated in the clinics. In this review, we describe the different types of whole tumor antigens that we could use to pulse DCs ex vivo and in vivo. We also discuss the different routes of delivering whole tumor antigens to DCs in vivo and activating them with toll-like receptor agonists.
Abstract: The concept of stimulating the body’s immune response is the basis underlying vaccination. Vaccines act by initiating the innate immune response and activating antigen presenting cells (APCs), thereby inducing a protective adaptive immune response to a pathogen antigen. Adjuvants are substances added to vaccines to enhance the immunogenicity of highly purified antigens that have insufficient immunostimulatory capabilities, and have been used in human vaccines for more than 90 years. While early adjuvants (aluminum, oil-in-water emulsions) were used empirically, rapidly increasing knowledge on how the immune system interacts with pathogens means that there is increased understanding of the role of adjuvants and how the formulation of modern vaccines can be better tailored towards the desired clinical benefit. Continuing safety evaluation of licensed vaccines containing adjuvants/adjuvant systems suggests that their individual benefit-risk profile remains favorable. Adjuvants contribute to the initiation of the innate immune response induced by antigens; exemplified by inflammatory responses at the injection site, with mostly localized and short-lived effects. Activated effectors (such as APCs) then move to draining lymph nodes where they direct the type, magnitude and quality of the adaptive immune response. Thus, the right match of antigens and adjuvants can potentiate downstream adaptive immune responses, enabling the development of new efficacious vaccines. Many infectious diseases of worldwide significance are not currently preventable by vaccination. Adjuvants are the most advanced new technology in the search for new vaccines against challenging pathogens and for vulnerable populations that respond poorly to traditional vaccines.
Abstract: Influenza A virus is a respiratory pathogen which causes both seasonal epidemics and occasional pandemics; infection continues to be a significant cause of mortality worldwide. Current influenza vaccines principally stimulate humoral immune responses that are largely directed towards the variant surface antigens of influenza. Vaccination can result in an effective, albeit strain-specific antibody response and there is a need for vaccines that can provide superior, long-lasting immunity to influenza. Vaccination approaches targeting conserved viral antigens have the potential to provide broadly cross-reactive, heterosubtypic immunity to diverse influenza viruses. However, the field lacks consensus on the correlates of protection for cellular immunity in reducing severe influenza infection, transmission or disease outcome. Furthermore, unlike serological methods such as the standardized haemagglutination inhibition assay, there remains a large degree of variation in both the types of assays and method of reporting cellular outputs. T-cell directed immunity has long been known to play a role in ameliorating the severity and/or duration of influenza infection, but the precise phenotype, magnitude and longevity of the requisite protective response is unclear. In order to progress the development of universal influenza vaccines, it is critical to standardize assays across sites to facilitate direct comparisons between clinical trials.
Abstract: Obtaining approval for a multinational vaccine trial from an ethics committee and the national competent authority of different Member States of the European Union (EU) is challenging under clinical trial Directive 2001/20/EC because of the differences in the implementation of the directive in national laws of Member States. In this review the national differences in requirements for ethical and competent authority approval are illustrated. The national ethical and competent authority review procedures in Finland, Hungary, The Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia are described under the EU trial directive after discussing the provisions of the trial directive related to both review procedures. The review illustrates the differences between the countries in the documents that have to be submitted for the review procedures, the submission procedures and the language requirements of the documents, the organization of the ethics committees and the role of the competent authority in the approval procedure.
Abstract: Influenza viruses have a huge impact on public health. Current influenza vaccines need to be updated annually and protect poorly against antigenic drift variants or novel emerging subtypes. Vaccination against influenza can be improved in two important ways, either by inducing more broadly protective immune responses or by decreasing the time of vaccine production, which is relevant especially during a pandemic outbreak. In this review, we outline the current efforts to develop so-called “universal influenza vaccines”, describing antigens that may induce broadly protective immunity and novel vaccine production platforms that facilitate timely availability of vaccines.