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Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2006 Dec;6(12):1311-21.

Ii-Key/MHC class II epitope hybrids: a strategy that enhances MHC class II epitope loading to create more potent peptide vaccines.

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Antigen Express, Inc., 100 Barber Avenue, MA 01606, USA.


Life-threatening diseases, such as cancer and pandemic influenza, demand new efforts towards effective vaccine design. Peptides represent a simple, safe and adaptable basis for vaccine development; however, the potency of peptide vaccines is insufficient in most cases for significant therapeutic efficacy. Several methods, such as Ligand Epitope Antigen Presentation System and ISCOMATRIX, have been developed to enhance the potency of peptide vaccines. One way of increasing the loading of MHC class II peptides occurs through the use of Ii-Key technology. Ii-Key (LRMK), a portion of the MHC class II-associated invariant chain (Ii), facilitates the direct loading of epitopes to the MHC class II molecule groove. Linking the Ii-Key moiety via a simple polymethylene bridge to an MHC class II epitope, to generate an Ii-Key/MHC class II epitope hybrid, greatly enhances the vaccine potency of the tethered epitope. The combination of such Ii-Key/MHC class II epitope hybrids with MHC class I epitope-containing peptides might generate a potent peptide vaccine for malignancies and infectious diseases. The Ii-Key hybrid technology is compared with other methods that enhance the potency of a peptide vaccine.

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