Abstract: HIV-1 virus-like particles (VLPs) are promising vaccine candidates against HIV-1 infection. They are capable of preserving the native conformation of HIV-1 antigens and priming CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses efficiently via cross presentation by both major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II molecules. Progress has been achieved in the preclinical research of HIV-1 VLPs as prophylactic vaccines that induce broadly neutralizing antibodies and potent T cell responses. Moreover, the progress in HIV-1 dendritic cells (DC)-based immunotherapy provides us with a new vision for HIV-1 vaccine development. In this review, we describe updates from the past 5 years on the development of HIV-1 VLPs as a vaccine candidate and on the combined use of HIV particles with HIV-1 DC-based immunotherapy as efficient prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination strategies.
Abstract: Qb bacteriophage virus-like particles (Qb-VLP) are utilized as carriers to enhance immune responses to weakly or non-immunogenic antigens such as peptides and haptens. Qb-VLPs are formed through the self-assembly of multiple Qb capsid protein monomers, a process which traps a large amount of bacterial RNA in the core of the VLP. Bacterial RNA is known to activate the innate immune system via TLR 7 and 8 found within the endosomes of certain immune cells and has been shown to contribute to the immunogenicity of Qb-VLP vaccines. Herein, we evaluated an anti-IgE vaccine comprised of two IgE peptides (Y and P) conjugated to Qb-VLP (Qb-Y and Qb-P, respectively) for in vitro stimulation of human PBMCs and in vivo immunogenicity in mice. The in vitro secretion of IFN-α from human PBMCs exposed to Qb-Y is consistent with TLR7 activation. Immunization of mice with the IgE peptide Qb-VLP conjugates induced high titers of anti-IgE antibodies in wild-type mice, but significantly lower titers in TLR7 knockout mice, supporting the self-adjuvanting role of the RNA. Inclusion of alum and alum/CpG as adjuvants partially or completely compensated for the lack of TLR7 activation in TLR7-deficient mice. Our study demonstrates the key role that TLR7 plays in the immunogenicity of the IgE peptide Qb-VLP conjugate vaccine.
Abstract: Exosomes are virus-sized nanoparticles (30–130 nm) formed intracellularly as intravesicular bodies/intralumenal vesicles within maturing endosomes (“multivesicular bodies”, MVBs). If MVBs fuse with the cell’s plasma membrane, the interior vesicles may be released extracellularly, and are termed “exosomes”. The protein cargo of exosomes consists of cytosolic, membrane, and extracellular proteins, along with membrane-derived lipids, and an extraordinary variety of nucleic acids. As such, exosomes reflect the status and identity of the parent cell, and are considered as tiny cellular surrogates. Because of this closely entwined relationship between exosome content and the source/status of the parental cell, conceivably exosomes could be used as vaccines against various pathologies, as they contain antigens associated with a given disease, e.g., cancer. Tumor-derived exosomes (TEX) have been shown to be potent anticancer vaccines in animal models, driving antigen-specific T and B cell responses, but much recent literature concerning TEX strongly places the vesicles as powerfully immunosuppressive. This dichotomy suggests that the context in which the immune system encounters TEX is critical in determining immune stimulation versus immunosuppression. Here, we review literature on both sides of this immune coin, and suggest that it may be time to revisit the concept of TEX as anticancer vaccines in clinical settings.
Abstract: Despite significant recent advances in the development of immune checkpoint inhibitors, the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer involving metastasis to distant organs remains challenging. We conducted a phase I study to investigate the safety and immunogenicity of Wilms’ tumor (WT1) class I/II peptides-pulsed dendritic cell DC vaccination for patients with advanced colorectal cancer. Standard treatment comprising surgical resection and chemotherapy was followed by one course of seven biweekly administrations of 1–2 × 107 DCs with 1–2 KE of OK-432 (streptococcal preparation) in three patients. Clinical efficacy was confirmed based on WT1 expression using immunohistochemistry on paraffin-embedded tissues and immune monitoring using tetramer analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assays. WT1 expression with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-class I molecules was detected in surgical resected tissues. Adverse reactions to DC vaccinations were tolerable under an adjuvant setting. WT1-specific cytotoxic T cells were detected by both modified WT1-peptide/HLA-A*24:02 tetramer analysis and/or interferon-γ-producing cells through the use of ELISPOT assays after the first DC vaccination. Immunity acquired from DC vaccination persisted for two years with prolonged disease-free and overall survival. The present study indicated that DC vaccination targeting WT1 demonstrated the safety and immunogenicity as an adjuvant therapy in patients with resectable advanced colorectal cancer.
Abstract: Detection of specific viral antibody or nucleic acid produced by infection or immunization, using oral fluid samples, offers increased potential for wider population uptake compared to blood sampling. This methodology is well established for the control of HIV and measles infections, but can also be applied to the control of other vaccine preventable infections, and this review describes the application of oral fluid assays in support of mumps, rubella and varicella national immunization programs. In England and Wales individuals with suspected mumps or rubella, based on clinical presentation, can have an oral fluid swab sample taken for case confirmation. Universal varicella immunization of children has led to a drastic reduction of chickenpox in those countries where it is used; however, in England and Wales such a policy has not been instigated. Consequently, in England and Wales most children have had chickenpox by age 10 years; however, small, but significant, numbers of adults remain susceptible. Targeted varicella zoster virus (VZV) immunization of susceptible adolescents offers the potential to reduce the pool of susceptible adults and oral fluid determination of VZV immunity in adolescents is a potential means of identifying susceptible individuals in need of VZV vaccination. The main application of oral fluid testing is in those circumstances where blood sampling is deemed not necessary, or is undesirable, and when the documented sensitivity and specificity of the oral fluid assay methodology to be used is considered sufficient for the purpose intended.