[Frontiers in Bioscience 11, 1189-1198, January 1, 2006]

DNA vaccines for cancer

Denise R. Shaw and Theresa V. Strong

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. Gene Transfer of DNA for Immunization
4. Mechanism of Immune Response Following DNA Immunization
5. Factors Influencing Induction of Immune Response
6. Strategies to Enhance the Immune Response
7. Clinical Experience with DNA Vaccines
8. Perspectives
9. Acknowledgments
10. References


DNA vaccines, also referred to as genetic, plasmid or polynucleotide vaccines, represent a relatively simple and economical method to exploit gene transfer for immunization against tumor associated antigens. This review discusses the potential advantages of DNA vaccines for cancer immunotherapy as compared to conventional protein vaccines and viral vectors. The proposed mechanisms responsible for induction of immune responses following DNA-based immunization are summarized. The preclinical development of DNA vaccines and the clinical experience with DNA immunization for cancer to date are reviewed. The low toxicity associated with DNA vaccines favors its further development, but additional strategies to improve the potency of this approach are needed if it is to be successfully integrated into the clinical setting.