Gene therapy meets vaccine development.
Collins MK., Cerundolo V.
Therapeutic vaccines such as those used to combat cancer or persistent viral infection are required to reprogramme a downregulated immune system. This presents a difficult challenge for vaccine design and merits the development of novel immunization protocols. Currently, we know that mobilization of dendritic cells (DCs) to present antigens to T lymphocytes is crucial for effective immunization. Our increasing understanding of DC biology, coupled with the growing sophistication of viral vectors developed for gene therapy, makes more rational vaccine design an exciting possibility. Here we propose that engineering viral vectors to express antigens in activated DCs will provide the most effective vaccines for priming an immune response.