The design of efficient vectors for vaccine development and cancer gene therapy is an area of intensive research. Bacteria-based vectors are being investigated as optimal vehicles for antigen and therapeutic gene delivery to immune and tumour cells. Attenuated Salmonella strains have shown great potential as live vectors with broad applications in human and veterinary medicine. An impressively large, and still growing, number of reports published over the last two decades have demonstrated the effectiveness in animal models of Salmonella-based therapies for the prevention and treatment of infectious and non-infectious diseases, as well as cancer. Further, the recent dramatic expansion in knowledge of genetics, biology and pathogenesis of the bacteria allows more rational design of Salmonella constructs tailored for specific applications. However, only few clinical trials have been conducted so far, and although they have conclusively demonstrated the safety of this system, the results on immunogenicity are less than optimal. Thus, more research particularly in target species is required to bring this system closer to human and veterinary use. In this review we first describe some particularities of the bacteria and its relationship with the host that could be on the basis of its success as vector, and then summarize the different strategies used so far to develop Salmonella-based vaccines for infectious diseases as well as for non-traditional indications such as prion and Alzheimer disease vaccination. Finally, we review the many different approaches that employ Salmonella for the design of new therapies for cancer.
Keywords: Salmonella, pathogenicity, vector, vaccine, infectious diseases, cancer, gene therapy
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