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ABSTRACT: DNA vaccines have been widely used in laboratory animals and non-human primates over the last decade to induce antibody and cellular immune responses. This approach has shown some promise, in models of infectious diseases of both bacterial and viral origin as well as in tumour models. Clinical trials have shown that DNA vaccines appear safe and well tolerated, but need to be made much more potent to be candidates for preventive immunisation of humans. This review describes recent work to improve the delivery of plasmid DNA vaccines and also to increase the immunogenicity of antigens expressed from the DNA vaccine plasmids, including various formulations and molecular adjuvants. Because DNA vaccines are relatively new and represent a novel vaccine technology, certain safety issues, such as the potential for induction of autoimmune disease and integration into the host genome, must be examined carefully. If potency can be improved and safety established, plasmid DNA vaccines offer advantages in speed, simplicity, and breadth of immune response that may be useful for the immunisation of humans against infectious diseases and cancers.
International Journal for Parasitology 06/2003; 33(5-6):457-67. DOI:10.1016/S0020-7519(03)00056-0 · 3.87 Impact Factor