Therapeutic vaccination to block receptor-ligand interactions.
Spohn G., Bachmann MF.
Many chronic diseases are caused by non-physiological interactions of certain ligands with their receptors. Conventional treatment of these diseases with synthetic drugs or monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is efficient, but problematic due to the non-compliance of patients and the risk of adverse side effects. Novel therapeutic approaches are focusing on strategies of active immunisation aimed at the induction of a humoral immune response directed against the deleterious receptor-ligand interaction. Autoantibody production has been achieved by several vaccine formulations, including conjugates of self-antigens to foreign T helper (Th) cell epitopes, virus-like particles coated with self-antigens, and naked DNA vectors. All of these approaches have the potential to be developed for clinical use if important safety issues, related to the possible long-term presence of self-reactive antibodies in the serum of vaccinated individuals and the risk of undesired T cell responses, can be properly addressed.