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Immunol Rev. 2011 Jan;239(1):62-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2010.00980.x.

DNA vaccines: an historical perspective and view to the future.

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  • 1ProTherImmune, Lafayette, CA, USA.


This review provides a detailed look at the attributes and immunologic mechanisms of plasmid DNA vaccines and their utility as laboratory tools as well as potential human vaccines. The immunogenicity and efficacy of DNA vaccines in a variety of preclinical models is used to illustrate how they differ from traditional vaccines in novel ways due to the in situ antigen production and the ease with which they are constructed. The ability to make new DNA vaccines without needing to handle a virulent pathogen or to adapt the pathogen for manufacturing purposes demonstrates the potential value of this vaccine technology for use against emerging and epidemic pathogens. Similarly, personalized anti-tumor DNA vaccines can also readily be made from a biopsy. Because DNA vaccines bias the T-helper (Th) cell response to a Th1 phenotype, DNA vaccines are also under development for vaccines against allergy and autoimmune diseases. The licensure of four animal health products, including two prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases, one immunotherapy for cancer, and one gene therapy delivery of a hormone for a food animal, provides evidence of the efficacy of DNA vaccines in multiple species including horses and pigs. The size of these target animals provides evidence that the somewhat disappointing immunogenicity of DNA vaccines in a number of human clinical trials is not due simply to the larger mass of humans compared with most laboratory animals. The insights gained from the mechanisms of protection in the animal vaccines, the advances in the delivery and expression technologies for increasing the potency of DNA vaccines, and encouragingly potent human immune responses in certain clinical trials, provide insights for future efforts to develop DNA vaccines into a broadly useful vaccine and immunotherapy platform with applications for human and animal health.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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