HSV-1 amplicon vectors efficiently transduce cultured antigen-presenting cells (APC), including both human and murine dendritic cells as well as primary human chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B cells. Helper-free amplicons have been shown to be especially well-suited for this purpose, since they do not impair the antigen-presenting functions of these target cells. In vivo, amplicon vectors have been used in preclinical studies aimed at the development of therapeutic cancer vaccines, as well as vaccines for Alzheimers disease, and selected microbial pathogens. Studies in small animal model systems have shown that ex vivo transduction of irradiated tumor cells with amplicon vectors encoding immunomodulatory cytokines such as IL-2 or GM-CSF can elicit protective responses against a tumor challenge. In an experimental model for cancer immunotherapy, direct transduction of preformed tumors with vectors encoding CD40L resulted in slowed tumor growth or tumor eradication. Other studies have examined the ability of amplicons to elicit immune responses against encoded antigens, and have shown that strong cellular immune responses can be generated against amplicon encoded HIV-1 antigens in mice. Thus, amplicon vectors have shown significant promise as vaccine vectors in a range of settings. These promising initial findings highlight the need to perform additional studies, including experiments to evaluate the immunogenicity of amplicon vectors in additional animal models, possibly including nonhuman primates. Overall, amplicon vectors offer compelling advantages when compared to other vaccine-delivery platforms, which include the capacity to incorporate a very large transgene payload and the potential to efficiently transduce mucosal surfaces. It will be important to design future studies to directly test and exploit these features of the amplicon system. The next few years therefore promise to be an exciting and important period in the development of amplicons as vaccine vectors.
Keywords: dendritic cells, murine hepatoma cells (HEPA 1-6), Hepatis C virus (HCV), Alzheimer, ’, s Disease (AD), helper-free amplicons, immunotherapy
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