With recent advances in the design and delivery of peptide-based therapeutics there has been a growing interest in the use of peptides in vaccine design. Moreover, functional dissection and proteomic analysis of the immunogenic epitopes of proteins from pathogenic micro-organisms, cancers and self-tissues targeted by autoimmune responses, have broadened the range of target epitopes and given clues to enhancing peptide immunogenicity. Consistent with these observations; peptides can be synthesised with defined chemical modifications to mimic natural epitopes and/or deliberately introduce protease resistant peptide bonds to regulate their processing independent of tissue specific proteolysis and to stabilize these compounds in vivo. We discuss the potential of peptide-based vaccines for the treatment of chronic viral diseases and cancer and review recent developments in the field of epitope discovery and peptide-based vaccines.
Keywords: Major Histocompatibility Complex, peptide epitope, antigen processing, epitope discovery, epitope validation
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