The induction of a Th-1 polarized immune response is believed to be advantageous when designing immunologic approaches for HIV therapy. DNA vaccines represent one of the best immunologic strategies capable of inducing such a response. From conception to clinical application it is now possible to rationally design DNA vaccines based on reliable experimental data, thus a systemic approach to the development of new and the enhancement of existing vaccine immunogens is now possible. The addition of adjuvants may also increase immunogenicity and depending on the choice of adjuvant, polarize the immune response. Other important factors in the formulation of a successful vaccine are the selection of administration route, heterologous or homologous prime / boost schedules, and the feasibility of the eventual clinical application. This review will summarize recently developed preventive and therapeutic vaccines, and carefully evaluate the advantages and potential risks for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infected patients. Finally, the concept of “autovaccination” will be defined as it represents the basis for the development of our innovative therapeutic antigen presenting cell targeted HIV vaccine. DermaVir is the first topical vaccine, in combination with antiretroviral therapy, to demonstrate immunological and clinical benefits in a relevant animal model (chronically infected rhesus macaques).
Keywords: hiv dna vaccines, th-1 immune response, hiv vaccine clinical trials, dna vaccine adjuvants, dendritic cell targeted vaccine
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