In the early 1990s, it was demonstrated that the simple injection of plasmid DNA in saline into the muscle of mice led to the expression of the encoded gene (1). Shortly thereafter it was shown that DNA vaccination could produce antibodies against an encoded antigen (2), cytotoxic T-cell responses, and protection from lethal doses of influenza (3,4). The elicitation of an immune response using plasmid DNA encoding an antigen, rather than the antigen itself was thereafter defined as genetic vaccination.
Genetic vaccination has tremendous therapeutic potential for the prevention and treatment of diseases, the screening of pathogenic genome libraries for the determination of protective antigens (5), and the high-throughput generation of high specificity monoclonal antibodies (6). The immunobiology of antigen presentation along with the potential mechanisms involved with the induction of immune response in genetic vaccines are beyond the scope of this chapter, and in depth examination of these mechanisms can be found in several excellent reviews (7,8). Instead, this review will examine advances in non-viral delivery technologies for genetic vaccines.
From: Cancer Drug Discovery and Development: Gene Therapy for Cancer Edited by: K. K. Hunt, S. A. Vorburger, and S. G. Swisher © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ
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