Synthetic long peptides (SLP) are a promising vaccine modality to induce therapeutic T cell responses in patients with chronic infections and tumors. We studied different vaccine formulations in mice using SLP derived from carcinoembryonic Ag. We discovered that one of the SLP contains a linear Ab epitope in combination with a CD4 epitope. Repeated vaccination with this carcinoembryonic Ag SLP in mice shows improved T cell responses and simultaneously induced high titers of peptide-specific Abs. These Abs resulted in unexpected anaphylaxis after a third or subsequent vaccinations with the SLP when formulated in saline. Administration of low SLP doses in the slow-release vehicle IFA prevented the anaphylaxis after repeated vaccination. This study underscores both the immunogenicity of SLP vaccination, for inducing T cell as well as B cell responses, and the necessity of safe administration routes.
Chemical conjugates comprising synthetic Toll-like receptor ligands (TLR-L) covalently bound to antigenic synthetic long peptides (SLP) are attractive vaccine modalities, which can induce robust CD8(+) T-cell immune responses. Previously, we have shown that the mechanism underlying the power of TLR-L SLP conjugates is improved delivery of the antigen together with a dendritic cell activation signal. In the present study, we have expanded the approach to tumor-specific CD4(+) as well as CD8(+) T-cell responses and in vivo studies in two nonrelated aggressive tumor models. We show that TLR2-L SLP conjugates have superior mouse CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell priming capacity compared with free SLPs injected together with a free TLR2-L. Vaccination with TLR2-L SLP conjugates leads to efficient induction of antitumor immunity in mice challenged with aggressive transplantable melanoma or lymphoma. Our data indicate that TLR2-L SLP conjugates are suitable to promote integrated antigen-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell responses required for the antitumor effects. Collectively, these data show that TLR2-L SLP conjugates are promising synthetic vaccine candidates for active immunotherapy against cancer.
The capacity of a low-dose HPV16 synthetic long-peptide vaccine (HPV16-SLP) to induce an HPV16-specific T-cell response as well as to establish long-term immunologic memory in patients with low-grade abnormalities of the cervix was determined in a placebo-controlled, double-blinded phase II study. In addition, the effect of a booster vaccination after 1 year was evaluated. Patients received either the HPV16-SLP or a placebo at the start of the study. After 1 year, the vaccinated patients were again randomized to receive the HPV16-SLP or a placebo. Patients were followed for 2 years. HPV16-specific T-cell responses were determined in pre- and post-vaccination blood samples by ELISPOT, proliferation assay and cytokine assays. We show that the HPV16-specific T-cell responses detected after vaccination are clearly due to vaccination and that reactivity was maintained for at least 2 years. Interestingly, a booster vaccination after 1 year especially augmented the HPV16-specific Th2 response. Furthermore, pre-existing immunity to HPV16 was associated with a stronger response to vaccination and with more side effects, reflected by flu-like symptoms. We conclude that two low-dose injections of HPV16-SLP can induce a strong and stable HPV16-specific T-cell response that lasts for at least 1 year. If booster vaccination is required, then polarizing adjuvant should be added to maintain the Th1 focus of the vaccine-induced T-cell response.
Attenuated poxviruses are safe and capable of expressing foreign antigens. Poxviruses are applied in veterinary vaccination and explored as candidate vaccines for humans. However, poxviruses express multiple genes encoding proteins that interfere with components of the innate and adaptive immune response. This manuscript describes two strategies aimed to improve the immunogenicity of the highly attenuated, host-range restricted poxvirus NYVAC: deletion of the viral gene encoding type-I interferon-binding protein and development of attenuated replication-competent NYVAC. We evaluated these newly generated NYVAC mutants, encoding HIV-1 env, gag, pol and nef, for their ability to stimulate HIV-specific CD8 T-cell responses in vitro from blood mononuclear cells of HIV-infected subjects. The new vectors were evaluated and compared to the parental NYVAC vector in dendritic cells (DCs), RNA expression arrays, HIV gag expression and cross-presentation assays in vitro. Deletion of type-I interferon-binding protein enhanced expression of interferon and interferon-induced genes in DCs, and increased maturation of infected DCs. Restoration of replication competence induced activation of pathways involving antigen processing and presentation. Also, replication-competent NYVAC showed increased Gag expression in infected cells, permitting enhanced cross-presentation to HIV-specific CD8 T cells and proliferation of HIV-specific memory CD8 T-cells in vitro. The recombinant NYVAC combining both modifications induced interferon-induced genes and genes involved in antigen processing and presentation, as well as increased Gag expression. This combined replication-competent NYVAC is a promising candidate for the next generation of HIV vaccines.
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