Abstract: Plants represent a safe, efficacious and inexpensive production platform by which to provide vaccines and other therapeutic proteins to the world’s poor. Plant virus expression vector technology has rapidly become one of the most popular methods to express pharmaceutical proteins in plants. This review discusses several of the state-of-the-art plant expression systems based upon geminiviruses that have been engineered for vaccine production. An overview of the advantages of these small, single-stranded DNA viruses is provided and comparisons are made with other virus expression systems. Advances in the design of several different geminivirus vectors are presented in this review, and examples of vaccines and other biologics generated from each are described.
Abstract: Viral vectors are promising tools for gene therapy and vaccines. Viral vector-based vaccines can enhance immunogenicity without an adjuvant and induce a robust cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response to eliminate virus-infected cells. During the last several decades, many types of viruses have been developed as vaccine vectors. Each has unique features and parental virus-related risks. In addition, genetically altered vectors have been developed to improve efficacy and safety, reduce administration dose, and enable large-scale manufacturing. To date, both successful and unsuccessful results have been reported in clinical trials. These trials provide important information on factors such as toxicity, administration dose tolerated, and optimized vaccination strategy. This review highlights major viral vectors that are the best candidates for clinical use.
Abstract: Intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular senile plaques are potential targets for active and passive immunotherapies. In this study we used the transgenic mouse model P301S for active immunizations with peptide vaccines composed of a double phosphorylated tau neoepitope (pSer202/pThr205, pThr212/pSer214, pThr231/pSer235) and an immunomodulatory T cell epitope from the tetanus toxin or tuberculosis antigen Ag85B. Importantly, the designed vaccine combining Alzheimer’s disease (AD) specific B cell epitopes with foreign (bacterial) T cell epitopes induced fast immune responses with high IgG1 titers after prophylactic immunization that subsequently decreased over the observation period. The effectiveness of the immunization was surveyed by evaluating the animal behavior, as well as the pathology in the brain by biochemical and histochemical techniques. Immunized mice clearly lived longer with reduced paralysis than placebo-treated mice. Additionally, they performed significantly better in rotarod and beam walk tests at the age of 20 weeks, indicating that the disease development was slowed down. Forty-eight weeks old vaccinated mice passed the beam walk test significantly better than control animals, which together with the increased survival rates undoubtedly prove the treatment effect. In conclusion, the data provide strong evidence that active immune therapies can reduce toxic effects of deposits formed in AD.
Abstract: Viral vectors are promising tools for vaccination strategies and immunotherapies. However, CD8+ T cell responses against pathogen-derived epitopes are usually limited to dominant epitopes and antibody responses to recombinant encoded antigens (Ags) are mostly weak. We have previously demonstrated that the timing of viral Ag expression in infected professional Ag-presenting cells strongly shapes the epitope immunodominance hierarchy. T cells recognizing determinants derived from late viral proteins have a clear disadvantage to proliferate during secondary responses. In this work we evaluate the effect of overexpressing the recombinant Ag using the modified vaccinia virus early/late promoter H5 (mPH5). Although the Ag-expression from the natural promoter 7.5 (P7.5) and the mPH5 seemed similar, detailed analysis showed that mPH5 not only induces higher expression levels than P7.5 during early phase of infection, but also Ag turnover is enhanced. The strong overexpression during the early phase leads to broader CD8 T cell responses, while preserving the priming efficiency of stable Ags. Moreover, the increase in Ag-secretion favors the induction of strong antibody responses. Our findings provide the rationale to develop new strategies for fine-tuning the responses elicited by recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara by using selected promoters to improve the performance of this viral vector.
Abstract: Therapeutic HIV immunization is intended to induce new HIV-specific cellular immune responses and to reduce viral load, possibly permitting extended periods without antiretroviral drugs. A multigene, multi-subtype A, B, C HIV-DNA vaccine (HIVIS) has been used in clinical trials in both children and adults with the aim of improving and broadening the infected individuals’ immune responses. Despite the different country locations, different regimens and the necessary variations in assays performed, this is, to our knowledge, the first attempt to compare children’s and adults’ responses to a particular HIV vaccine. Ten vertically HIV-infected children aged 4–16 years were immunized during antiretroviral therapy (ART). Another ten children were blindly recruited as controls. Both groups continued their antiretroviral treatment during and after vaccinations. Twelve chronically HIV-infected adults were vaccinated, followed by repeated structured therapy interruptions (STI) of their antiretroviral treatment. The adult group included four controls, receiving placebo vaccinations. The HIV-DNA vaccine was generally well tolerated, and no serious adverse events were registered in any group. In the HIV-infected children, an increased specific immune response to Gag and RT proteins was detected by antigen-specific lymphoproliferation. Moreover, the frequency of HIV-specific CD8+ T-cell lymphocytes releasing perforin was significantly higher in the vaccinees than the controls. In the HIV-infected adults, increased CD8+ T-cell responses to Gag, RT and viral protease peptides were detected. No augmentation of HIV-specific lymphoproliferative responses were detected in adults after vaccination. In conclusion, the HIV-DNA vaccine can elicit new HIV-specific cellular immune responses, particularly to Gag antigens, in both HIV-infected children and adults. Vaccinated children mounted transient new HIV-specific immune responses, including both CD4+ T-cell lymphoproliferation and late CD8+ T-cell responses. In the adult cohort, primarily CD8+ T-cell responses related to MHC class I alleles were noted. However, no clinical benefits with respect to viral load reduction were ascribable to the vaccinations alone. No severe adverse effects related to the vaccine were found in either cohort, and no virological failures or drug resistances were detected.
Abstract: Synthetic tumor vaccines have been proven to be promising for cancer immunotherapy. However, the limitation of the specificity and efficiency of the synthetic tumor vaccines need further improvements. To overcome these difficulties, additional tumor-associated targets need to be identified, and optimized structural designs of vaccines need to be elaborated. In this review, we summarized the main strategies pursued in the design of synthetic tumor vaccines, such as multi-component, multivalency, antigen modification and other possible ways to improve the efficiency of synthetic tumor vaccines.